Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) is a term that is used by the Social Security Administration and Disability Determination Services (DDS) when referring to your ability to perform work-like activities given your physical and mental limitations.
All jobs require both physical and mental activities. Physical and mental limitations caused by your disability will affect your residual functional capacity. For example, if you suffer from a disability that prevents you from sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time, then your residual functional capacity would prevent you from working at a job that required you to sit most of the day.
If your residual functional capacity makes it possible for you to continue with your prior or past jobs, then your claim may be denied because you can return to that type of work. If your residual functional capacity restricts you so much that you cannot return to any of your past jobs, then the DDS examiner will consider your age, education, and work experience, to determine whether or not you can do any work. If the examiner determines that you cannot do any work, then you will be awarded disability benefits.
When determining your residual functional capacity for a Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, the DDS will fill out an RFC from. If you are presenting your case to a Social Security administrative law judge, then you will be allowed to submit an RFC form filled out by your doctor. There are 2 types of RFC forms, Physical and Mental.
Physical RFC forms will address questions such as:
- How much weight can you lift?
- How much weight can you carry?
- How many minutes can you sit, stand and walk?
- How often can you reach and push/pull (with arms and legs)?
- How often can you operate foot pedals?
- How often can you climb, kneel, stoop, balance, crouch and crawl?
- How bad is your hearing?
- How bad is your vision?
- Do you have any environmental limitations? (cold, heat, heights, noise, etc…)
- And some other questions about your ability to physically perform tasks
Mental RFC forms will address questions such as:
- Can you remember, perform, and make decisions on simple instructions?
- Can you remember, perform, and make decisions on complex instructions?
- Can you interact appropriately with the public, supervisors, and co-workers?
- Can you respond appropriately to work situations and to changes in a routine work setting?
- And some other questions about your ability to mentally perform tasks.
At the time of a hearing before an administrative law judge, having a detailed RFC form filled out by your doctor will greatly increase your chances of winning your disability hearing.
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