Assessments of a person’s ability to function at work provide important information for disability determinations, and many validated tests are available to assess work-related physical and mental functions. However, because no single test of function is likely to provide all of the information needed to evaluate an individual’s ability to work, it is important to consider information from multiple sources, including health records, functional assessments, and standardized reports from the applicant and relevant health care providers, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
The report, Functional Assessment for Adults with Disabilities, contains findings and conclusions regarding the collection of health data and the assessment of functional abilities that can help determine an individual’s eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
While an individual may be able to perform certain physical demands of a job, such as lifting or standing, during a single performance-based assessment, that does not mean he or she can do so repeatedly or continuously throughout the work week. An individual’s capacity to work may also be adversely affected if he or she experiences comorbid physical-mental health conditions or medication side effects. For example, common side effects for treatment of pain — including nausea and difficulty concentrating — can further impair a person’s ability to function at work.
Additionally, when assessments of functional ability are conducted outside of an actual work setting, they may not sufficiently capture whether an individual can work full-time on a regular, continuing basis. Testing is typically administered in a quiet, controlled setting, and thus is not always reflective of the environmental factors (e.g. temperature, noise, and heights) and social demands the individual may encounter at work.
Assessments of work-related functional abilities are extremely important in disability determinations and can make or break a case. To be disabled under Social Security’s rules, you must be unable to return to your past relevant work or any other work available in the national or regional economy.
If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a medical condition, please contact us for a free evaluation of your claim!
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®