We often speak to people who are suffering from widespread chronic pain due to a combination of problems that affect their joints, bones and muscles. A common situation is when a person suffers from back arthritis but also widespread muscular pain that might be diagnosed as myofascial pain. Sometimes people hurt all over and the x-rays or MRIs do not show a clear cause of the pain. When we speak to doctor about these types of cases, the doctors often describe this as musculoskeletal problems. Musculoskeletal can be the basis for disability benefits. However, it is difficult to prove how much you hurt. You usually need to have the strong support of an orthopedist in order to help prove your musculoskeletal problems are severe enough to be considered disabling.
For people under 50, we would need to be able to prove that your musculoskeletal problems would prevent you from being able to do sedentary work on an 8 hour a day, 40 hour a week basis. Only in severe cases of musculoskeletal problems would that be the case. For instance, if an orthopedic surgeon who treats you and your other doctors are willing to state that your musculoskeletal pain would be so severe that would need to change positions between sitting and standing/walking more frequently than once every 30 minutes and you would need rest away from the work station for significantly more time than is usually allowed, then you could be considered disabled.
However, if you are over 50 the rules make is easier for you to be considered disabled on the basis of your musculoskeletal problems. If your doctors are willing to state that you would be limited to no more than sedentary work, then you could be considered disabled depending on your work background. Sedentary work is defined as being able to stand or walk in combination no more than 2 hours total out of an 8 hour work day and lift no more than 10 lbs. occasionally and nothing more than light things such as papers or files frequently.
If you are over 55 then all we need to show is that you are limited to no more than light work depending on your work background. Light work is defined as being able to stand or walk no more than 6 hours total out of an 8 hour work day and lift no more than 10 lbs frequently and no more than 20 lbs. occasionally. Therefore, your musculoskeletal problems do not need to be quite as bad for you to still have a shot at being considered disabled if you are over 55.