Someone filling out Social Security Disability Claim

Residual Functional Capacity and Your Social Security Disability Claim

Residual functional capacity (RFC) is an essential component in your Social Security disability determination, but the concept of RFC causes a great deal of confusion for many people. We will try to demystify this issue and explain the relevance of residual functional capacity and your Social Security disability claim.

A Texas disability attorney can answer your additional questions and help you navigate the Social Security disability claim process. If your application for Social Security disability benefits was already denied, a disability attorney could file an appeal on your behalf, but you will have to act quickly. The Social Security administration gives you very little time to file an appeal if you were unhappy with the decision in your case. 

An Overview of Residual Functional Capacity

In most situations, when a person has a disability or an impairment from an illness or injury, the medical focus is on what the person can no longer do. Residual functional capacity (RFC) is the opposite. RFC centers on what tasks and functions a person can still perform, despite that individual’s limitations. In other words, RFC is what a person can do, not what they cannot do.

How the Social Security Administration Evaluates Your Residual Functional Capacity

The burden is on the applicant to provide the evidence the Social Security Administration needs to assess the individual’s residual functional capacity. The Social Security Administration can use your medical records, consultations, and new medical examinations, as well as things that are not formal medical evidence.

For example, if your application states that you cannot work because of an excruciatingly painful back injury that limits you from physical activity, the Social Security Administration could talk to your family, neighbors, friends, and other people about the activities you perform on an ordinary day. The Social Security Administration will investigate your ability to perform everyday tasks and functions as part of its evaluation of your residual functional capacity.

Why Residual Functional Capacity Matters When Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration evaluates Social Security disability applications by asking a series of questions to determine if the person meets the criteria for being disabled. One of the questions is whether the person can still support himself through gainful employment in his current job, any previous job, or any other type of work.

If you can continue to perform on the job to a level that you can maintain employment and earn enough money to support yourself, the Social Security Administration will deny your application for the reason that they would not consider you to be disabled. Please note that what you might consider earning enough money is likely not the same amount as what the Social Security Administration sets at the earnings limit. If you exceed the earnings limit for the year, you do not qualify for disability benefits.

What Happens if You Have More Than One Impairment

A person might have multiple impairments, some that are severe and some that might not be as significant. The Social Security Administration will consider the limiting effects of all of your impairments, even the ones that are not severe. 

If your primary medical condition is severe but does not meet or equal the requirements of the Blue Book for that illness or injury, the Social Security Administration will take into consideration the limitations caused by your additional impairments. The Social Security Administration uses the Blue Book to evaluate the severity of specific medical conditions. A Texas disability attorney could help you address the issue of residual functional capacity in your Social Security disability claim. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.