For the purposes of determining Social Security Disability, the SSA has divided work into four categories according to the level of exertion which is required for each. The categories include sedentary, light, medium, and heavy. Each of these exertional categories is further defined by Social Security Disability guidelines regarding what kinds of work activities a person must be able to do in order to perform at a job which requires that level of exertion. The full range of work, at any given exertional level, is the ability to perform all tasks which fall into that category.
The full range of work for sedentary work includes:
- Lifting up to 10 pounds.
- Standing or walking up to 2 hour per day.
- Sitting up to 6 hours per day.
Generally speaking, sedentary jobs available to unskilled workers demand good fine motor skills with your hands. Other sedentary jobs require a certain amount of literacy and the ability to speak English. In order to be considered completely disabled, most people who are less than 55 years old need to be unable to perform the full range of work for sedentary work.
The full range of work for light work includes:
- Sitting up to 2 hours per day.
- Standing or walking up to 6 hours per day.
- Lifting up to 20 pounds occasionally.
- Lifting up to 10 pounds frequently.
In some cases, those who are illiterate or over 55 years old still qualify for Social Security Disability if they are unable to perform the full range of work for light work.
The full range of work for medium work includes:
- Constant standing.
- Constant walking.
- Constant kneeling.
- Constant squatting.
- Lifting 25 pounds frequently.
- Lifting 50 pounds occasionally.
If you are capable of the full range of work for medium work, you will have a difficult time making a case that you are disabled according to Social Security Disability guidelines even if you have only done heavy work previously. The full range of work for heavy work includes any work harder that the criteria for medium work including lifting as much as 100 pounds. Those capable of performing the full range of work for heavy work will not generally qualify for disability benefits.