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).
Few people are satisfied with the Social Security Administration's process for determining disability and awarding benefits. Some may think that Social Security Disability (SSD) standards are not strict enough and discourage people from working even when they can. Those on the other side see that SSD is essential for millions of people. They argue that SSD eligibility requirements are too strict, keeping benefits from the disabled Americans who need them.
On Tuesday, the third hearing on Securing the Future of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program took place. This meeting, held by the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Social Security, was called to address how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility decisions are made.