Are opinions regarding ability to do sustained work subjective?
Yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) realizes that disability claimants are limited by symptoms that are subjective and difficult to quantify. Your Fresno disability lawyer understands how these subjective determinations are made, and how to represent your case accordingly.
Neither clinical nor laboratory diagnostic techniques have the ability to objectively measure symptoms as they are experienced by the claimant. For this reason, the SSA must rely on (1) a doctor’s opinion, and (2) tangible, medicalfindings that support the doctor’s opinion.
A Doctor’s Opinion
In lieu of an objective measurement of a claimant’s symptoms, the SSA relies on a doctor’s exercise of professional judgment. This is used to determine whether or not the patient’s symptoms can reasonably be connected to a medical diagnosis. Therefore, according to the SSA, a physician may be asked for his or her opinion about the patient’s mental or physical restriction, the nature and severity of the patient’s symptoms, and what the patient is capable of despite his or her impairments.
Medical signs and findings must be reasonably consistent with the patient’s claimed symptom-related limitations.
When deciding if claimed limitations are reasonable for one patient, can he or she be compared to an average person with the same impairment?
No. Your Fresno disability lawyer will advise you that the SSA does not determine disability status by comparing you to other claimants. The SSA’s rules recognize that an “average man” test is not pertinent because symptoms limit some patients more or less than they do others. For instance, an example given by the SSA is that of someone with a low back disorder who is completely capable of sustained medium work activity while another person with the same low back disorder may not be capable of even light work activity on a sustained basis because of their pain. Individual responses to impairment and pain must be considered, because pain tolerance and the ability to cope with impairment vary among individuals.
If you would like to discuss Social Security disability with a competent and knowledgeable Fresno disability lawyer, please contact us.