The Social Security Disability Blog got me thinking about some of the Social Security hearing question gotchas I’ve heard over the years.
It is fairly common to be asked the following questions during a Social Security hearing:
- How long can you sit?
- How long can you stand?
- How far can you walk?
- How much can you carry?
Be careful, your answers might get you into hot water.
People want to answer by telling the Judge the most they can do:
Well, I can walk for about half a mile.
The problem is that the Judge is trying to determine your “residual functional capacity” (RFC): what you can still do despite your impairments in a work like environment. That is, what you are still able to do during an 8 hour day, five days a week (or a similar schedule).
While you may be telling the Judge that you can walk half a mile on a really good day (which only happens once or twice a week), the Judge may think you are saying that you can walk half a mile, several times a day, every day!
Even if an answer does not go completely right, it is not the end of the world. Your attorney can help you walk it back and get the correct information in front of the Judge.
Q: You told the Judge you can walk about half a mile?
A: Yes, that’s right.
Q: Would you be able to walk half a mile several times a day.
Q: Would you be able to walk half a mile once a day, every day, Monday through Friday?
A: No, I can maybe walk half a mile on my good days — maybe twice a week.
Q: How far can you walk on your bad days?
A: Maybe from the bedroom to my couch.
Whether you are going to your hearing with an attorney or on your own, keep in mind that the unspoken part of the Judge’s “how long can you…” question, is “on a regular basis, day in and day out.”