A report titled “Functional Assessment for Adults with Disabilities” was published by researchers at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on May 9. Its authors concluded that too little focus is placed on assessing an applicant’s work-related functional abilities when making Social Security disability determinations.
The report’s authors found that doctors hired to evaluate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI/SSI) recipients perform far too little mental and physical health testing. They note that it’s important for them to take a more holistic approach when assessing how well they can function on the job.
They argue that case reviewers should continue to analyze the results from an applicant’s standardized tests and functional assessments in addition to reading over their medical records. They argue that additional testing should better mimic situations they may encounter daily on the job though.
The researchers found that many SSDI/SSI and SSI applicants are denied disability benefits because doctors find them able to handle isolated job-related tasks.
What these evaluations fail to capture is how the applicant may be physically unable to perform that same task for the entirety of their 40-hour work week. A doctor may also find that an applicant is mentally competent to continue working as they historically have. The testing that they perform may not capture how noises or distractions may exacerbate their condition making it impossible for them to get anything done.
Another problem with the current approach to testing is that it fails to account for comorbid conditions or those that are brought about by co-existing mental and physical health concerns. They don’t take into account how medicines that an applicant may take may adversely impact their ability to work either.
Individuals in California who apply for Social Security Disability benefits often fail on their first attempt. This is due in large part to not submitting the right medical records documenting the severity of their condition.
An SSDI/SSI appeals attorney can use their extensive experience in reviewing Oakland residents’ applications to determine why your claim may have been denied. They can then help you file an appeal of the decision.