Nonexertional impairments are impairments that may qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits if those impairments prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful work activity. When an administrative law judge obtains a vocational expert to testify in regards to whether a claimant’s disability prevents them from working or not, the vocational expert will review the claimant’s limitations, both exertional and nonexertional. If a claimant’s limitations are severe enough, even if they are nonexertional in nature, the claimant will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
A nonexertional impairment is defined by the SSA as an impairment that does not directly affect an individual’s ability to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, push or pull. Examples of nonexertional impairments include mental illness, blindness and deafness.
In order for a Social Security Disability applicant to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a nonexertional impairment, that individual’s nonexertional impairment must be severe enough to significantly limit the individual’s basic work skills.
If it can be proven through expert witness testimony and statements from primary treatment providers that an individual’s nonexertional impairment does indeed interfere with their ability to maintain gainful work activity, then the individual’s Social Security Disability claim is likely to be approved due to the fact that even though the impairment is nonexertional in nature, it still prevents them from performing the functions that are necessary to maintain a job.