Heavy Work

Heavy Work is one of five classifications used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to describe the full range of job duties and functions required in particular positions of employment.

Jobs are classified as:

  • Sedentary
  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy
  • Very Heavy

Under this system, Heavy Work is defined as any job that frequently requires lifting and carrying up to 50 pounds of weight but does not require lifting or carrying more than 100 pounds at any time.

When a disability applicant does not meet or closely match a Blue Book listing, the SSA must perform a “residual functional capacity” or “RFC” analysis. In this analysis, the SSA evaluates the applicant’s ability to perform specific mental and/or physical activities. The RFC provide the SSA the information necessary to make a judgment on the types of jobs the applicant can perform given the specific limitations their medical condition places on them.

An RFC is done to determine if a disability applicant qualifies for benefits under a “medical vocational allowance,” which essentially means they are disabled despite not meeting or matching a Blue Book listing.

A medical vocational allowance is only granted if the applicant’s job skills, age, education level, training, and medical condition all indicate they are unable to work in any job for which they’re qualified.

If the SSA finds the applicant is able to perform Heavy Work, then the SSA also considers the applicant able to perform Medium, Light, and Sedentary Work. In order for an applicant to qualify for a medical vocational allowance, they must be unable to work in any job for which they possess the necessary skills and abilities. This typically means the applicant must be unable to perform even Sedentary Work, given all their physical and mental limitations.

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