Social Security Disability for Claimants Under 50

In order to be found disabled prior to age 50 (what Social Security calls a “younger individual”), you have to be found unable to sustain work activity for eight hours a day, five days a week.  This means that you have to be found unable to perform a job that requires you to sit all day, or even sit and stand at will, and only perform simple routine tasks.  Examples of these kinds of jobs are given by vocational experts during disability hearings.  These jobs include: silver wrapper, small parts assembler, hand packager, etc… If you can perform these types of jobs, according to Social Security, you are not disabled.  The key, then, is to make sure that Social Security is aware of ALL the limitations you have that can affect your ability to perform ANY job that exists.  These include an inability to maintain concentration for a two hour period without a break, an inability to stand for two of eight hours, an inability to sit for at least six of eight hours, an inability to use both hands to handle, finger and reach, and other limitations that might limit the ability to sustain employment.  Here are a couple of examples of “younger individuals” who were found disabled:

Our client was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, a hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy with muscular atrophy, which was diagnosed in 1989.  She was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  This is a progressive disorder and at the time that our client stopped working, she had foot drop, and increasing atrophy and weakness in her lower leg muscles making it difficult for her to stand, balance and walk.  She was also experiencing body aches and pain that were attributable to her progressive disease process as well as her Fibromyalgia.  Due to painful hand movements, a consultative examiner for Social Security opined that she should avoid repetitive use of the left hand, including gripping maneuvers.  The Administrative Law Judge found that our client could perform less than the full range of sedentary work due to her physical limitations and associated pain and was unable to perform sustained work activity on a regular and consistent basis.  The Administrative Law Judge found the claimant disabled.

This client was 47 years old when he became disabled due to uncontrolled brittle Type 2 diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, peripheral venous insufficiency, and diabetic neuropathy.  He had previously worked as a certified nursing assistant.  He also had complications associated with the uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension such as syncope, multiple hospitalizations for ketoacidosis and dehydration, chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease.  In addition, the claimant was obese.  Due to the combination conditions (impairments, as Social Security calls them) he experienced extreme fatigue, difficulty walking, rapid heart rate, muscle weakness, headaches and frequent, severe, drops in blood sugar with associated syncope.  The Administrative Law Judge found the claimant disabled.

We recently won disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a 27 year old with a history of attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder, schizoaffective type.  She had a very limited work history due to her mental illness.   She had been fired from numerous jobs because of an inability to learn even simple tasks.  She was also fired for her “attitude” with customers while trying to work as a cashier.  The claimant was receiving medications for her mental illness from a primary care physician due to lack of funds.  Social Security sent her to two of their own psychologists for evaluations.  Both psychologists found that she had marked  limitations in her ability to adapt to changes in a routine work setting and to accept criticism from supervisors.  The Administrative Law Judge also had her evaluated and tested.  Again the psychologist who saw her thought she was essentially unable to maintain attention and concentration for a period of two hours without interruptions from psychologically based symptoms.  The Administrative Law Judge found that she was disabled as of age 23, when she filed her application for disability

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