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SSA Work Classifications

Written by Ankin Law Office

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers an application for social security benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the SSA will consider the applicants residual functional capacity in conjunction with his or her age, education, and work experience, are considered to determine whether the individual can engage in any other substantial gainful work.  According to SSA regulations work is classified according to the exertion level that is required to perform the job.  The SSA characterizes jobs as sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or very heavy.

Sedentary work includes jobs that:

  • Do not require lifting more than 10 pounds at a time
  • Require occasionally lifting carrying articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools.
  • Is primarily performed in a seated position that does not entail significant stooping
  • May involve a certain amount of walking and standing as necessary to carry out job duties, but walking and standing generally does not exceed 2 hours out of an 8-hour workday
  • Require good use of the hands and fingers for repetitive hand-finger actions

Light work includes jobs that:

  • Involves frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds, but do not require lifting more than 20 pounds at a time and only require occasional (rather than frequent) stooping
  • Require a fair amount of walking or standing, generally for a total of 6 hours of an 8-hour workday
  • Includes some pushing and pulling of arm-hand or leg-foot controls (e.g., mattress sewing machine operator, motor-grader operator, and road-roller operator), even though the job is performed seated most of the time
  • Requires use of arms and hands to grasp and to hold and turn objects, but generally do not require use of the fingers for fine activities to the extent required in much sedentary work.

Medium work includes jobs:

  • Involve frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds with frequent bending and stooping, but do not require lifting more than 50 pounds at a time
  • Requires a full range of physical abilities, including standing or walking, off and on, for a total of approximately 6 hours in an 8-hour workday
  • Requires the use of the arms and hands to grasp, hold, and turn objects, rather than the finer activities in much sedentary work, which require precision use of the fingers as well as use of the hands and arms

Heavy and Very Heavy work includes jobs that:

  • Involve frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to or more than 100 pounds with frequent bending and stooping
  • Requires a full range of physical abilities, including standing or walking, off and on, for a total of approximately 6 hours in an 8-hour workday
  • Requires the use of the arms and hands to grasp, hold, and turn objects, rather than the finer activities in much sedentary work, which require precision use of the fingers as well as use of the hands and armsocisl
Categories: Social Security