Thursday, March 8, 2012

Podiatrists and Disability Benefits

When applying for disability benefits, don’t forget the podiatrist. I just had another disability application approved today because of a claimant’s podiatrist, which has become a fairly regular occurrence.

Every job requires being on one’s feet to some degree. The United States Department of Labor published the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (the “DOT”). For each occupation, the DOT provides the number of hours of standing/walking during an 8 hour day that is required. Most claim adjudicators accept the DOT.

I represent a 60 year electrician who said he could no longer work due to a psychological condition. After spending a while interviewing the claimant, I learned that he also had been seeing a podiatrist for an arthritic foot. While the arthritis did not require any assistive device to ambulate, the podiatrist limited the claimant to standing and walking for less than 2 hours during an 8 hour work day.

According to the DOT, an electrician must be on his feet for at least 6 hours a work day. The claimant was found disabled due to his foot problem, not his psychological one, because he could not perform his past work.

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