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What is “Sedentary” Work? …and Why Your Disability Insurance Company Cares

Tucker Law Group
September 11, 2012

Many Disability Insurance policies use what they call an “any occupation” (also called “any occ”) definition of disability. That means that they evaluate whether you can do any occupation to determine if you are disabled. Since the insurance company is looking at whether you can do ANY job, it is basically trying to decide if you can do the easiest work in the economy. Physically speaking, that is sedentary work.

The U.S. Department of Labor has classified all types of work in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. The Dept. of Labor defines sedentary as one that requires you to sit for 6 hours out of an 8 hour day and the ability to lift no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally to lift or carry articles like docket files, ledgers, and small tools.

Some walking or standing is often needed to do job duties for sedentary work too. Jobs are still considered “sedentary” if walking and standing are required occasionally and other sedentary criteria are met. “Occasionally” means occurring from zero to one-third (1/3) of the day (so, usually no more than 2 hours of an 8-hour work day). Again, that means a person would be sitting for about 6 hours of an 8-hour workday. Sedentary work also involves other activities, classified as “nonexertional,” such as capacities for seeing, manipulation, and understanding, remembering, and, in the easiest jobs, carrying out simple instructions.

If you have an “Any Occ” definition of disability in your Disability Insurance policy or ERISA Disability plan, the insurer may be looking at very simple sitting jobs. Some examples include: toll booth operator, surveillance system monitor, order clerk, etc. Unless the terms of your policy or plan say it matters, the disability insurer usually does not pay attention to how much less these types of jobs pay than the one you were doing before you became disabled.

In the end, if your doctor gives you restrictions that allow you to do Sedentary work, you will NOT be found disabled. There are many sedentary jobs in the economy. Often, the key to a disability claim is proving the reasons why you cannot do sedentary work.

If your insurance company has denied your claim saying you can do sedentary work, call Disability Attorney John Tucker today for a free consultation at (866) 233-5044.