To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your medical condition must prohibit you from working. To determine your ability to work, Social Security assesses your “residual functional capacity” or RFC.
In layman’s terms, RFC is your ability engage in activities and tasks despite your physical or mental limitations. To assess your RFC, Social Security’s decision-makers rely on your medical records and opinions from doctors – including their own medical consultants – to assess your ability to work on a regular basis.
If you are physically and mentally able to work, your claim will be denied. If your condition prohibits you from working any job, your claim will be approved.
It sounds simple, but determining your RFC can be complicated, especially if you suffer from various ailments. The criteria is also different for physical and medical conditions.
Physical and Mental RFCs
Regardless of whether you suffer from a severe physical or mental impairment, Social Security will complete an RFC assessment. In most cases, a Disability examiner will work with a medical consultant on staff to assess your RFC. Your medical reports will be reviewed, as well as all the evidence in your file, to determine your level of exertion and functional limitations.
For a physical RFC, the information will be used to form opinions about your physical limitations, including sitting, standing, walking, crouching, and reaching, among other things. Consideration will also be given to how much weight you can lift and carry and whether there are any restrictions on pushing or pulling, for example.
If you suffer from a mental condition, a mental RFC will be assessed. Opinions will be formed about your ability to concentrate, interact socially at work, and carry out instructions, among other things.
If Social Security determines your functional limitations prohibit you from working your previous job, they will take into consideration your age, education and skills to determine if you can learn another job. If Social Security concludes that you cannot, you should be approved for Disability benefits.
RFC forms by your treating doctors
In many cases, disabled individuals will ask their own treating doctors to complete a RFC form, which is also called a “medical source statement.” These can be extremely helpful since your doctors have first-hand knowledge of your medical condition, treatment and prognosis.
An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer can provide your doctors with RFC forms and request that they complete them. Our team would be glad to assist you with this endeavor or answer any questions you have about Residual Functional Capacity.
We have helped thousands of people obtain much-needed Social Security Disability benefits and it would be our privilege to help you too. Call us today at 877-568-8413 or fill out the contact form on this page.
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