What is the Residual Functional Capacity in Social Security Disability Claims?

woman comforting a man

woman comforting a man

In some cases, the SSA or Social Security Administration can determine disability based solely on medical factors. This means that if your disability isn’t listed in the SSA’s blue book called the Listing of Impairments. It will evaluate your RFC or residual functional capacity to decide whether or not you can be officially considered disabled.

If you have yet to work with disability insurance lawyers here in Los Angeles, here’s what you should know about the residual functional capacity.

What Exactly is the Residual Functional Capacity?

RFC basically refers to an individual’s remaining ability to perform mental and physical tasks related to work. The SSA would need to evaluate your condition and provide you with an RFC if it deems you severely impaired.

This indicates what you could do despite your impairments, and if you have multiple impairments, the SSA will take into account all of these in your RFC evaluation. Your RFC evaluation will be based on all relevant details contained your case documentation.

For instance, the SSA will examine your medical history, lab results, clinical signs, treatment effects, symptoms effects, doctors’ opinions, daily activities reports, and statements from other relevant individuals such as family members and colleagues.

The SSA must likewise determine your exertional capacity and non-exertional capacity when evaluating your RFC.

woman evaluating a man

What are Exertional Capacity and Non-Exertional Capacity?

Exertional capacity is basically your ability or lack thereof to stand, sit, walk, pull, carry, lift, and push, which are termed strength demands. The process of the exertional capacity assessment tackles these basic work demands by categorizing tasks as very heavy, heavy, medium, light and sedentary.

Non-exertional capacity is essentially your ability or lack thereof to carry out physical and mental tasks not covered under exertional capacity. Non-exertional restrictions or limitations could be visual, communicative – like hearing or talking – and manipulative.

These include fine motor skills, reaching and handling stuff, as well as postural like climbing, bending and stooping. These can likewise include your tolerance level for environmental factors like extreme temperature levels, dust, noise and fumes.

Mental tasks included under non-exertional capacity also covers mental tasks related to your line of work. These can refer to remembering, understanding and following instructions. It also includes interacting effectively with colleagues and managers, dealing with work routine changes and using sound judgment for making work-related decisions.

These are work tasks that will require a person of sound mind to complete.

How The SSA Will Utilize Your RFC

After the SSA has evaluated your RFC, it will then utilize it for determining whether or not you are still capable of performing your former job. They do this by comparing your previous work’s mental and physical demands with your RFC.

Specifically, it will look into your work history for the last 15 years and all the tasks related to it. Because of the crucial nature of an RFC evaluation, you must ideally ask your current physician to complete a residual functional capacity evaluation form.

You must submit this along with your social security disability claim application. You can request copies of the relevant forms from your local Social Security Administration office.