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Florida Social Security Disability Benefits for Claimants Under Age 50

At our Clearwater Florida disability law firm, we represent many claimants who are under the age of 50.  Claimants under the age of 50 who can speak and read English must meet a high, but not impossible, standard to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.  Most Florida claimants who are under the age of 50 will need to prove that they are unable to perform a wide range of sedentary work.

Sedentary work requirements

In general, sedentary work requires:

  • Lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time;
  • Periods of standing or walking that generally total no more than about 2 hours of an 8-hour workday;
  • Occasional lifting or carrying of articles like docket files, ledgers and small tools;
  • Occasional walking and standing;
  • Periods of sitting that generally total approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour workday; and
  • Good use of the hands and fingers for repetitive hand-finger actions.

An effective strategy for proving a disability case for the under-50 claimant is to present evidence that the claimant has functional limitations that prevent the claimant from meeting these requirements for sedentary work.

Functional limitations that may prevent a claimant from being able to do a wide range of sedentary work include:

Standing and walking limitations and the under-50 claimant

To perform sedentary work, an individual should be capable of standing and walking on and off for a total of about two hours of an eight hour day.  Any significant reduction of the ability to stand and walk below this amount will reduce the sedentary occupational base.

Need for a cane

To perform sedentary work, an individual must be able to retrieve and return objects, and stand and walk for approximately two hours out of an eight-hour working day.  Thus, the need to use a cane would necessarily limit the capacity for a full range of sedentary work.  In some sedentary jobs, two free hands are sometimes necessary to carry objects.

Inability to stoop

Stooping is bending the body downward and forward by bending the spine at the waist.  According to the Social Security Administration a “complete inability to stoop would significantly erode the unskilled sedentary occupational base and a finding that the individual is disabled would usually apply.” But since most unskilled sedentary jobs require only occasional stooping, a reduction to occasional stooping would only minimally erode the sedentary occupational base.

Need to lie down

Very few unskilled sedentary jobs would allow an individual to lie down during the workday.

Sitting limitations and the under-50 claimant

To do a full range of sedentary work an individual will generally need to be able to sit for approximately six hours of an eight-hour workday. An individual may need to alternate sitting and standing (and, possibly, walking) periodically. The occupational base for a full range of unskilled sedentary work will be eroded when this need cannot be accommodated by scheduled breaks and a lunch period,.

Need to walk around

The need to walk around from time to time, which is often necessary for individuals with back problems, may be a disabling limitation, depending on the frequency and duration of the need, because it takes the individual away from his or her work station.

Need to elevate legs

An individual’s need to elevate one or both legs when sitting may significantly limit the full range of sedentary work depending on how long during a working day the legs must be elevated and how high

Manipulative limitations and the under-50 claimant

Good use of both hands and fingers (bilateral manual dexterity) is required for most unskilled sedentary jobs.  Use of the fingers is necessary for fine movements of small objects. Any significant limitation of an individual’s ability to manipulate small objects with both hands will result in a significant erosion of the unskilled sedentary occupational base.

The ability to reach and handle is required in almost all jobs. Reaching is extending the hands and arms in any direction and handling means seizing, holding, grasping, turning or otherwise working primarily with the whole hand or hands.  Significant limitations of reaching or handling, therefore, may eliminate a large number of occupations an individual otherwise could perform

Mental impairments and the under-50 claimant

Paid unskilled work generally requires these mental activities:

  • Responding appropriately to supervisors, co-workers and usual work situations.
  • Dealing with changes in a routine work setting.
  • Understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple instructions.
  • Making judgments consistent with unskilled work, for example simple work-related decisions.

A substantial loss of ability to meet any one these basic work-related activities on a sustained basis (i.e., 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule), will substantially erode the unskilled sedentary occupational base and would justify a finding of disability.

Visual impairments and the under-50 claimant

Most sedentary unskilled occupations require the individual to work with small objects. If an individual’s visual impairment prevents him or her from seeing the small objects, the sedentary occupational base will be significantly eroded.  An individual’s inability to see and avoid common workplace hazards, such as open doors, approaching people or vehicles, or objects on the floor, will also result in erosion of the sedentary occupational base.

Environmental restrictions and the under-50 claimant

Restrictions on exposure to noise, dust and other respiratory irritants, and odors, if extreme, may significantly limit an individual’s ability to do a full range of sedentary work.

Other medical conditions that may disable the under-50 claimant

A variety of other medical conditions, such as those mentioned below, may interfere with an individual’s ability to perform sedentary work.

  • Headaches.
  • Pain.
  • Seizures.
  • Dizziness.
  • Inability to hold the head in flexed forward position.
  • Bladder or bowel problems that require frequent rest room use.
  • Need to maintain a colostomy or ileostomy.
  • Skin conditions.
  • Medical treatment including its frequency, duration, and disruption to routine.
  • Medication side effects.

Our Florida disability law firm offers help with these Social Security disability and SSI claims

Social Security disability and SSI cases for literate claimants under 50 are tough, but not impossible to win.  Skilled assistance is essential.

If you have such a case and are not already represented by a Florida Social Security disability attorney or SSI attorney and want our evaluation, give us a brief description of your claim using the form to the right.  Or you may contact us at:

Lillesand & Associates, P.A.
Clearwater Florida disability attorneys
E-mail us

Clearwater Office
635 Court St, Ste 202
Clearwater, Florida 33756
Phone: (727) 330-7895