9 Disability and Worker's Compensation

Forensic Psychology


  1. Lisa Drago Piechowski PhD, ABPP

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop211009

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Piechowski, L. D. 2012. Disability and Worker's Compensation. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 11:II:9.

Author Information

  1. American School of Professional Psychology, Department of Clinical Psychology, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


Forensic assessment in disability and worker's compensation matters requires an understanding of the conceptual basis of disability in the context of the specific policy, contract, or program under which the claimant has applied for benefits. Regardless of the legal circumstances, all disability evaluations have some things in common. Disability is not a personal characteristic, but a dynamic state created by the interaction of person and situation variables—specifically the claimant's condition, the claimant's functional capacity, and the demands of the claimant's occupation. When there is a question about an individual's eligibility for disability benefits, an independent medical examination (IME) may be sought in an attempt to gain objective information about the claimant's reported condition, the functional impairments resulting from this condition, and how these impairments compromise the claimant's ability to function in a work setting. A conceptual model of disability as a “legal competence” is proposed to provide a framework to guide data collection, interpretation, and the formulation of the examiner's opinion.


  • disability;
  • worker's compensation;
  • IME;
  • forensic assessment;
  • SSDI