When it comes to determining whether or not you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the following three words are vital to understand: residual functional capacity. But what do those three words really mean, and how does the Social Security Administration (SSA) determine your capacity?
Functional capacity versus functional limitations
Put very simply, your residual functional capacity is your ability to do the physical and mental activities associated with your job on a regular and continuing basis. If you have functional limitations in a workplace setting due to your disability – and can prove those limitations through medical evidence – you could qualify for disability benefits.
Residual functional capacity is assessed in four ways according to the code of federal regulations:
- Physical abilities. If you have trouble sitting, standing, pushing, lifting, walking, carrying, stooping, crouching, or manipulating due to a health condition, illness, or injury, your capacity to work may be limited.
- Mental abilities. If you have difficulty understanding, listening, remembering, processing, responding, or following instructions due to a mental health condition or mental illness, your capacity to work may be limited.
- Other abilities affected by impairments. If you suffer from other impairments, such as skin impairments, hearing impairments, seizure disorders, or sensory issues that limit your abilities, your capacity to work may be limited.
- Total limiting effects. If you have a number of impairments that are not severe enough on their own to limit your capacity to work, but you have several of these impairments that culminate in work-related limitation, this may affect your residual functional capacity.
Do you have questions regarding your residual functional capacity, or how to prove that your functional capacity is limited through medical evidence? We can help. Call the Houston Social Security disability attorneys at Morgan & Weisbrod today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.