Residual Functional Capacity

People who apply for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits will need to have their disability evaluated in order to determine whether they are able to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews a residual functional capacity (RFC) form in order to make the appropriate decision related to an application for benefits. Medical professionals who are knowledgeable about a particular patient’s medical history are the best choice to fill out these forms to provide the SSA with information about a patient’s ability to care for themselves and perform work tasks. Legal professionals with SSDI experience can help individuals better understand the reason for having a medical and mental health evaluation completed prior to filing for SSDI benefits.

What is Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)?

RFC is a medical evaluation that highlights the limitations suffered by a person who has a disability.

Areas covered by this form are chosen to determine whether a person’s condition truly limits their ability to perform work tasks in a way that makes it impossible for them to do their job. Evaluations of a person’s ability to physically exert themselves and move in ways related to the job are a part of this process. For example, this form evaluates a person’s ability to stoop, squat, reach and bend in order to demonstrate limitations in flexibility and movement.

Some people are not able to be exposed to hot or cold temperatures because of their disability. Environments that are extremely wet or dry may also irritate a condition. These sensibilities to environmental conditions will be noted on the RFC form.

Cognitive problems caused by a disability are also evaluated for the purpose of completing the RFC form. For example, a person’s ability to concentrate, follow directions or remember how to complete work tasks will be examined.

People who suffer from a mental disorder may have difficulty acting appropriately in social and professional interactions. These individuals could also have problems when changes are made in the workplace. Difficulties related to interacting with coworkers and coping with change will be noted.

The results of the RFC evaluation let the SSA know whether a person’s limitations allow them to work in a different position. For example, a person who can no longer lift heavy items may still be qualified for a less physically strenuous position.

SSA will request doctors to complete the RFC form. Often, they will have a medical reviewer complete an RFC form as well.

Help with the Application Process

Understanding the importance of RFC forms is a must for people who are filing for SSDI benefits. Attorneys who work on SSDI cases can help individuals learn more about RFC forms and other paperwork that must be completed as part of the SSDI benefit application process. I have ten years of experience in social security cases and appeals, and am ready to fight for your benefits. Contact me today to get started on your case.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.