There are five basic levels of work the SSA uses to categorize all types of physical work. The SSA will review your work history and job descriptions, which you report to them, and compare them with a database of all the same types of jobs and determine a physical functional level of that work.
The five levels are simplified as follows:
Sedentary Work--Lifting up to 10 pounds occasionally and less than that amount frequently. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
Light Work--Lifting up to 20 pounds occasionally and up to 10 pounds frequently. Light work typically involves being on your feet more than you are sitting.
Medium Work--Lifting 20 to 50 pounds occasionally and 10 to 25 pounds frequently. The physical demand requirements are in excess of those for Light Work and involve being on your feet generally most of the day.
Heavy Work--Lifting 50 to 100 pounds occasionally and 25 to 50 pounds frequently. The physical demand requirements are in excess of those for Medium Work.
Very Heavy Work—Lifting in excess of 100 pounds occasionally and in excess of 50 pounds of force frequently. The physical demands are in excess of those for Heavy Work.
Having your past work accurately described and defined can be important to your claim especially the older you get. Your past work, your age and your education can all come together to meet certain criteria to assist your being found disabled per what SSA calls a GRID rule. This will be discussed in the next blog!