Saturday, July 3, 2010


Understanding the rules for obtaining Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits can help secure Disability Retirement benefits from New York State or City.

I represent a Superintendent of Maintenance Operations for Buses who needed to apply for SSD benefits and Disability Retirement with the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (the “MTA”). The job required him to be on his feet for at least 6 hours a day, crouch, kneel, stoop, and climb for at least 3 hours a day, and lift 50 pounds. Those physical demands classified his job as medium work, which requires lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling 50 pounds, and standing/walking for at least 6 hours.

In order to obtain SSD benefits, the claimant not only had to show that he was incapable of performing his past work, but any other type of work as well, which includes sedentary work. Unlike medium work, sedentary work involves sitting most of the day and lifting no more than 10 pounds. Under the rules for obtaining SSD benefits, the claimant could have secured those benefits even if he were able to perform light work, which requires standing and walking for at least six hours. However, because the claimant was also seeking disability retirement benefits from the MTA, I gathered evidence to show the claimant was unable to do even sedentary work.

Yesterday’s decision from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) concluded that the claimant was unable to do sedentary work. If the claimant cannot do sedentary work, then it should be clear that he lacks the ability to perform more strenuous light work, and certainly medium work, which is even more physically demanding. While the SSA decision is not binding on the MTA, it certainly is persuasive. This is a tactic that I have used successfully many times before.

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