What is a Residual Functional Capacity Form? A residual functional capacity (RFC) is defined as the most you can do despite your medical impairments. A Residual Functional Capacity can include both mental and physical limitations.
Your RFC is very important. Social Security does not award benefits on your diagnosis alone. Rather, they evaluate your ability to perform work-related activities required for gainful employment. You must show that your medical conditions keep you from being able to work.
DDS Completes a Residual Functional Capacity Form
Social Security will assess your residual functional capacity to help determine whether you are disabled. The assessment will include a review of your medical records by a Social Security medical consultant. The medical consultant will complete a Residual Functional Capacity form based on the information that they have. The medical consultant will also provide an explanation for their findings.
Physical Residual Functional Capacity forms
A physical Residual Functional Capacity form includes questions about your ability to do things like:
- How long you can sit, stand or walk at one time or in an 8 hour work day
- How much weight you can lift or carry
- If you need an assistive device such as a cane, walker, wheelchair or crutches
- Using your arms and hands for activities such as reaching, pushing, pulling, gripping or grasping objects
- If pain, fatigue, other symptoms or side effects from medications cause limitations with concentration, persistence or pace
Mental Residual Functional Capacity
A mental Residual Functional Capacity form includes questions about your ability to do things like:
- Your ability to understand, remember or carry out instructions
- Interact with others such as supervisors, co-workers or the general public
- Maintain attention and concentration
- If your symptoms interfere with your ability to show up to work, arrive on time or have to leave early
Your treating doctors may also complete a Residual Functional Capacity form. Having your doctor complete an RFC form can be very helpful. After all, they should know more about your health than anyone else. A Residual Functional Capacity form should be very detailed. It should indicate all your medical symptoms and conditions. It should also include all of your treatment and any side effects from medications.
Ask Your doctor to Complete a Residual Functional Capacity Form
Even if you think your medical evidence is strong, it can still be important to have your doctor complete an RFC form. Many times, medical records do not clearly translate how your symptoms cause limitations on your ability to do things. An RFC form can clearly explain how your conditions are impacting your functioning.
Your doctor’s Residual Functional Capacity form can:
- Present a professional interpretation of the medical evidence in a clear, concise manner
- Provides more information than a simple or short letter from your doctor stating that you cannot work
- Can help win your disability case especially if you are appearing before an Administrative Law Judge
How a Residual Functional Capacity Form Can Help You Win
Social Security considers your age, education and work background when evaluating your claim. A Residual Functional Capacity form can be important. If you are under the age of 50, you must show that you cannot work at all. Social Security will consider other types of work, not just the work you have done in the past. An RFC form can help explain why you may not be able to work in a full time capacity.
For example, say you are under the age of 50 and worked before as a cashier. You have a back injury that interferes with your ability to do this type of work. You also have side effects from your medications that make you drowsy. In a Residual Functional Capacity form, your doctor states that you cannot sit for more than 4 hours or stand or walk for more than 2 hours in a work day. Your doctor also states that you have problems with attention and focus due to your medications. These limitations help support your disability claim because it shows that you could not work a full 8 hour day.
If you are over the age of 50, there are rules that Social Security can apply that support finding you disabled if you have a certain RFC. These rules are known as the Grid Rules. They are even more favorable if you are 55 or older.
Grid Rule Examples
50 to 54 year old that used to stand and walk most of the day
You have diabetes that has caused nerve damage in your feet, causing pain and difficulty standing. In an RFC form, your doctor states that you cannot stand or walk for more than 2 hours a day but can sit for at least 6 hours a day. The Grid Rules state that even if you could do a sit down job, you can still qualify for benefits since you are over the age of 50.
55 years or older, worked in construction and lifted 50+ pounds occasionally
You have a knee injury and can no longer perform your past work. In an RFC form, your doctor states that you can only lift or carry 20 pounds a day and stand or walk for 4 hours a day. The Grid Rules state that even if you could do less physical work, you can still qualify for benefits.
The RFC form completed by a doctor in all of these examples can help support your disability claim.
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