Maximum Sustained Work Capability

Maximum Sustained Work Capability is an assessment of your physical ability to do your job done by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine your right to Social Security Disability benefits. This is a classification of the level of work you are able to perform on a prolonged basis in a normal work environment.

One of the main pieces of information used to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability is your residual functional capacity. Based on this, your abilities will be defined by one of four classifications:

  • Maximum sustained work capability- sedentary: This requires lifting no more than ten pounds at any given time. It is generally performed while seated, but may include walking and standing (usually no more than two hours out of an average eight hour shift). Jobs in this category often require high hand and finger dexterity.

  • Maximum sustained work capability- light: This requires lifting up to 20 pounds at a time in addition to lifting up to 10 pounds frequently in the course of an eight hour day. Walking and standing may be up to 6 hours.

  • Maximum sustained work capability- medium: This requires lifting up to 50 pounds at a time in addition to lifting up to 25 pounds frequently, and may also include up to 6 hours of standing and walking. It does not require as much finger dexterity as a sedentary job, but includes bending and stooping.

  • Maximum sustained work capability- heavy: This requires lifting over 100 pounds at a time. Those with this determination are also able to perform all the other classifications.

Social Security Disability Insurance is not awarded unless there is sufficient proof that you are unable to keep a job or make $900 a month income. If you are deemed able to perform at an adequate level, you will be denied Social Security Disability benefits. This is one reason why it is very important that all information on RFC forms is accurate.

Since completion of an RFC form is usually required to determine your maximum sustained work capability and consequently your right to Social Security Disability, it is recommended that you obtain one from a personal physician versus the Social Security Disability determining services (DDS) to decrease the chances of a denial.

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