The Subjectivity of a Patient’s Ability to Work

The Social Security Administration (SSA) willingly admits the inherent subjectivity involved in opinions concerning a patient’s ability to do various forms of work on a continual basis. However, there is no better recourse than to request the opinions of medical professionals in regard to these issues.

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Symptoms of disabling conditions are notoriously difficult to measure or test. Doctors will nonetheless be often asked to comment on the severity of these symptoms and how fit the sufferer is to do various work-related activities. Social Security disability claims will be based on the degree to which a person can no longer carry on a full work load due to their condition. Thus, these unavoidably subjective opinions become of great importance.

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The symptoms at issue must be firmly connected to a known medical condition. However, the determination of disability level is not made on an across-the-board basis. Since some persons may have a lower tolerance of pain or be more greatly affected by the same symptom, the SSA has opted to determine disability status on a case-by-case basis. For example, one person with lower back pain may be able to maintain a moderate work load while another person may only be capable of keeping up a light work load.

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