Social Security disability claims are not decided based on whether or not the claimant has a specific condition. Rather, they are decided based on the extent to which the claimant is limited by the mental or physical condition. The specific condition is often irrelevant. In California and across the country, the primary goal of the Social Security Administration is to determine in what ways the claimant is limited.

When approving or denying a disability claim, the SSA will examine how a particular condition affects the applicant’s ability to perform a previous job and other kinds of work. A statement obtained from the person’s doctor can have a high level of importance in the analysis. Indeed, the agency gives special deference, and sometimes controlling authority, to the opinion of the treating physician.

The claimant’s treating physician is in a good position to render opinions as to the claimant’s limitations and their ability to stand, sit, lift, carry, walk, reach and perform other actions. Someone who has not yet filed for disability benefits should talk to their doctor about physical difficulties. These might include limitations in reaching, bending, lifting, crouching, stooping or other areas.

An attorney with experience handling Social Security disability claims might be able to help a claimant by examining the facts of the case and putting together medical records and other evidence. By communicating the areas of specific limitation to the Social Security Administration, an attorney could potentially secure disability payments. Legal counsel might draft and file the paperwork necessary to initiate a claim or provide the client with advice during the process.