1. Social Security Disability
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  3. Glossary
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  5. Maximum Sustained Work Capability

Maximum Sustained Work Capability

When the Social Security Administration processes your claim for Social Security Disability payments, it evaluates your ability to work. Your greatest sustained work capability will dictate the type of work that you can undertake in the national economy, if any.

Maximum sustained work capability is classified by the Social Security Administration into four categories: sedentary work, light work, medium work, and heavy labor. The Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form that you complete when completing your disability application will assist the Social Security Administration (SSA) in determining your maximum sustained employment capability. Your sustained work capability may fall into one of four categories.

Sedentary Work

Sedentary employment needs little more than ten pounds of lifting at a time and is typically performed seated. This type of employment may require walking and standing for a maximum of two hours during each eight-hour shift.

Work That Is Not Heavy

Hoisting up to twenty pounds at a time is required for light work, as is frequent lifting of up to 10 pounds during an eight-hour job. Individuals performing light work must be able to stand for a minimum of six hours throughout each eight-hour shift.

Work of a Moderate Nature

Ability to carry up to fifty pounds at a time is required for medium labor. Additionally, jobs in this category may entail regular lifting of up to twenty-five pounds and up to six hours of standing and walking throughout each eight-hour shift.

Intensive Work

Individuals performing heavy work must be able to lift more than 100 pounds and meet the criteria for each of the categories outlined above.

If it is decided that you are capable of performing any job that requires any of the following characteristics, your Social Security Disability benefits may be refused. As a result, when submitting your claim for Social Security Disability payments, ensure that your RFC form is thorough and precise.