And What It Means For Your Social Security Disability Claim
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, one of the factors that may be used to evaluate your claim is your Residual Functional Capacity. This term refers to how much work an applicant is capable of doing.
In order to determine your Residual Functional Capacity, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will assess your ability to perform both the physical requirements of working, and the mental requirements of working. They will also consider any other abilities that may be limited due to impairments – for example, if you have difficulty seeing or hearing.
How Do They Determine My Ability to Work?
With regard to the physical aspects of working, the SSA will be evaluating your abilities in areas like sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, handling objects, hearing, speaking and traveling.
With regard to the mental aspects of working, the SSA will be evaluating your abilities in areas like understanding, carrying out and remembering instructions, and responding appropriately to supervision, coworkers, and work pressures in a work setting.
The SSA relies on the evidence that you, the applicant, provide them. The more evidence that you give them that you are disabled, the higher the odds that your claim will be approved.
If you have limitations that affect your ability to perform typical work activities, it is important that you submit documentation of this. One type of documentation that can be very helpful in getting your claim approved is a medical source statement written by the doctor who has primarily treated you, in which the doctor describes what you are capable of doing in spite of your impairment(s).
You can also submit medical source statements from a variety of types of medical providers. You can find a full list on their website, by following this link. Be aware, however, that the SSA places more weight on statements from your “treating physician” than other types of caregivers.
Keeping a treatment log, and submitting it, can also help convince the SSA that your disability prevents you from working.
Different Types of Work
Once the SSA has determined your ability to do the physical aspects of work, they will determine what type of work – if any – you are capable of doing. They use different categories of physical difficulty for work, such as light work, medium work, heavy work, and very heavy work.
Once this determination is made, the SSA will examine your work history, going back 15 years, and examine what type of jobs you have been doing. If they decide that you are physically capable of doing the work that you have been doing, then your claim will most likely be rejected. If they determine that you are not capable of doing the work you have been doing, then they will determine whether you should be capable of performing a different type of job.
When analyzing whether you should be able to perform other types of work, one factor that the SSA looks at is your age. The older you are, the less likely it is that the SSA will determine that you should be able to learn and perform a new type of work.
Contact Me With Any Questions
If you have any questions about Residual Functional Capacity, or any other aspect of the application process for Social Security Disability benefits, you can contact the office online, or you can call at (518) 243-8011.