Sitting and Standing and Your Disability Claim

By Disability Group

I cannot sit or stand for long periods of time.  Do I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?

When the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at your application for Social Security Disability Insurance, it takes several different factors into consideration, most importantly your age and your past work experience.  The issue of how long you can sit or stand is evaluated alongside your age and work experience.

What does my age have to do with how long I can sit or stand?

If the SSA believes there are any jobs for someone like you out there, they will determine that you are not disabled.  There is no magic number of jobs that need to be available.  However, the theory is that as you get closer to retirement age, it becomes more difficult for you to find new lines of work.  The closer you get to retirement age, the more the SSA will factor in your inability to sit or stand for long periods of time.  In other words, the older you become, the more the SSA considers the sit/stand issue as something that would hold you back from finding a new job.

Is there a specific amount of time I have to not be able to sit or stand to be ‘disabled’?

No.  However, you must be able to sit or stand for certain amounts of time to do certain types of jobs.  For the least physical, or “sedentary”, jobs, the general rule of thumb is that you must be able to stand or walk for two hours, and you must be able to sit for six hours.  However, those numbers often serve as a guideline for the SSA, rather than a rigid calculation.  For example, let’s say that you can only sit for four hours at a time.  Let’s say that you can also stand or walk for four hours at a time.  Even though you cannot sit for six hours, the SSA might still find that there are jobs for you, and therefore, that you are not disabled.  It is complicated, and it depends heavily on what you did in your work history.

Is there any way for me to know if my inability to sit or stand will help my disability claim?

As mentioned above, any impairment that limits your ability to stand, walk, and sit, is going to show that your impairment affects your ability to do work.  Yet whether or not the SSA thinks that your impairment prevents you from working at all is more complicated.  However, keep in mind that while your sit/stand issue does not guarantee that the SSA will find you disabled, your limitations will never hurt that calculation either.