What is a substantial and material duty?

These are the duties required for the performance of your regular occupation that cannot be reasonably omitted or modified. For example, if you are a truck driver and we removed sitting for long periods from the job description, your occupation would no longer be considered a truck driver.

  • Material duties are subjective tasks specific to a particular occupation. For example, a salesperson must have the ability to communicate with a prospective client. If this subjective task (“communicate”) is removed from the job description, the description would no longer describe a salesperson.
  • Substantial duties are objective tasks required for the completion of a specific occupation in the course of an 8-hour day. For example, if you are a process operator, substantial duties may include sitting for 40% of the time and standing for 60% of the time.

A rule of thumb in determining whether you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation is to determine whether or not you are able to do those things that comprise at least 20% of your workday. For example, if you are a computer programmer but can only type for 15 minutes out of every hour, then you cannot perform your occupation.  It is incredibly important to know your job description before filing a long-term disability claim.

If you have a question about the material and substantial duties for your job and how they may affect your long-term disability claim, give us a call at 985-240-9773.

Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Disability and Personal Injury Attorney