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July 2015 Archives

What if I am denied Social Security benefits for brain injury?

So many Americans have suffered serious and debilitating injuries -- like traumatic brain injury -- that have left them permanently disabled and unable to work, but they were denied Social Security benefits when they first apply for them. This is a scary and difficult situation to be in, for sure, but disabled persons should not despair and they should not take "no" for an answer.

Hybrid Hypotheticals

In order to determine whether you are disabled under the Social Security Act, the adjudicator must determine your residual functional capacity (RFC) when applying the medical-vocational framework (SSR 83-10). Social Security Administration uses the criteria developed by the Department of Labor in classifying occupations ranging from sedentary to very heavy exertion levels. The exertion level table arranges the categories based on weight lifted and hours spent sitting or standing (C.F.R. § 404.1567). At times, the medical evidence may suggest an RFC which does not neatly fit into these categories. For example, where an individual could occasionally lift 25 pounds and frequently left 10 pounds, the exertional capacity falls in between the requirements for medium and light work. In cases where such hybrid hypotheticals emerge, your representative may refer to Programs Operation Manual System (POMS) DI 25025.015, effective 3/27/15. (Although not binding at the hearing level, the POMS rule maintains persuasive authority).

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