Feb 17, 2013

The Absurdity Of One Aspect Of One Social Security Ruling

     I have been looking at some old Social Security Rulings in the last few days. There is much that I agree with, or at least don't disagree with, in these Rulings but then I come across this from Social Security Ruling 96-8p "It is incorrect to find that an individual has limitations or restrictions beyond those caused by his or her medical impairment(s) including any related symptoms, such as pain, due to factors such as age or height ..."
     Does that sound reasonable to you? Let me ask the question another way. Does it sound reasonable to you for Social Security to find that a woman who is 5'2" tall and who weighs 110 pounds can do lifting of up to 100 pounds? That is what the Ruling says. This is preposterous on its face yet it is Social Security's official position, applied every day at the initial and reconsideration levels. No one talks about it or even realizes it but this one absurd aspect of this one Ruling accounts for a not inconsiderable percentage of all reversals by Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
     Anyone in the higher reaches of Social Security want to go all out to force ALJ compliance with this one?


Anonymous said...

The post focuses on an irrelevant point. Thee are almost no cases in which disability turns on the ability to do 50 or 100 pounds when the claimant is 5 foot 2 inches tall. The state agency RFCAs are for medium.

There is also a lot more going on. Consider ADA accommodation of a very short terms or a very tall person. A person 8 feet tall would need a special work station. As would someone three fee tall.

Anonymous said...

The language you quote is much less absurd when considered within the context of the statutory definition of disability: the inability to engage in SGA because of one's impairments. Conversely, without this interpretation, would you be bothered by a decision finding your client not to be disabled because he's 35 years old, and we all know younger people can handle more strenuous activity than older people?

Anonymous said...

Another slippery part is "medical impairment" because almost any person below 4'8" or above 7' (to give numbers) most-likely has some type of a medical syndrome or disorder based on a careful medical examination and review of medical literature.

Abraham Lincoln's height and long limbs has given rise to speculation of a glandular disorder and reduced live expectancy (ignoring assassination in office).