I counsel clients with a Social Security disability claim to be specific about their functional limitations. This is especially true at a Social Security disability hearing, where the administrative law judge is trying to assess your functional limitations to establish your residual functional capacity (RFC). It does not help the judge to say “I can’t walk very far” or “I can’t lift very much.” But saying “after standing for 20 minutes my back pain forces me to sit or lay down for at least 10 minutes” is more specific and much more helpful.
Try not to generalize about your abilities. When considering your physical ability to work, Social Security considers very basic tasks, such as lifting, carrying, sitting, standing, walking, stooping, climbing, and the like. All jobs required a certain amount of lifting and carrying, sitting, standing and walking. So be specific about your limitations.
Specific examples help to convey useful information to the judge about your abilities. Real examples from your daily life about the difficulties you experience can be compelling testimony. When these details are given at a hearing in a genuine way, they are highly believable, and tend to reinforce the credibility of the disability claimant.
In summary, specific evidence and real-life examples help the judge determine your remaining abilities, and also help the judge assess your credibility in a favorable way.
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