Exertional Capacity

Extertional Capacity is defined as your ability to walk, stand, carry, push, pull and lift. It is one of the many factors the Social Security Administration will take into account when determining your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.

Exertional Capacity is a major factor in determining your residual functional capacity, which is how the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your ability to earn an income, complete everyday tasks and function normally in society. When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to prove what level of work and normal activity you are capable of. Your Exertional Capacity plays a large role in your ability to both gain and keep meaningful employment.

When testing Exertional Capacity, your doctor or examining physician will ask you several questions regarding your ability to exert yourself in daily tasks. These questions will include how far you are able to walk, how long you can stand or sit comfortably and whether you can lift, pull, or push objects of various weights. Physical tests, under the supervision of a physician, may be carried out to help determine Exertional Capacity.

The Social Security Administration has regulations in place for the Exertional Capacity required by different types of employment, called “exertional levels” The SSA considers an individual’s ability to sustain employment in various job fields when granting Social Security Disability benefits.

Exertional Capacity is typically caused by a physical injury or ailment, such as a broken back, multiple sclerosis, paralysis or loss of use of an arm or leg. However, other conditions, such as mental or emotional impairment may affect a Social Security Disability seeker’s ability to exert themselves. For example, if you have arthritis or severe migraine headaches, lifting or standing for long periods of time may be painful or difficult. A mental disorder, such as severe depression, may affect exertional abilities. A physician will take into account that though you may be able to complete physical tasks, you cannot do so without feeling pain, thus you have a compromised Exertional Capacity.

Proving a limited Exertional Capacity will play a large role in a doctor’s report, which will be used to determine your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits.