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Questions the SSA may ask to determine limitations of an injury

There are injuries that would seem to obviously make it all but impossible for a person to continue working. Injuries like an amputation, spinal cord injury or brain trauma can completely change a person's ability to perform several functions of a job. In these cases, the Social Security Administration may have no trouble approving a person's application for disability benefits.

However, there are other very serious injuries that can impact workers in real ways but may be more difficult to determine as disabling. In order for the SSA to make a judgment about a person's condition, it will take a number of factors, collectively referred to as "residual functional capacity," into consideration.

To make a determination about whether you have a disabling injury or not, the SSA will ask a number of questions about the activities you can or cannot do.

  • Do you have difficult standing, sitting or walking for extended periods of time?
  • Can you still reach, carry, balance or use your fingers?
  • Are you vulnerable to certain weather conditions, heights, environments or sounds?
  • Are any of your primary functions impaired, or can you still see, speak and hear adequately?
  • Do you have difficulty comprehending instructions or communicating with others?

Based on the SSA's findings to these questions, it will make a ruling on whether you can still perform the functions of your job or another one for which you may be qualified. If it finds that you cannot, your claim for disability benefits will likely be approved.

However, there may be a difference of opinion between what you believe your condition prohibits you from doing and what the SSA determines. It will typically all come down to your medical history and reports from doctors, so it will be crucial to make sure you have these documents in order. Providing this documentation and other types of supporting information is essential, but it can also be overwhelming. Having an attorney by your side can prove to be a valuable resource in pursuing a successful claim for compensation.

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