While it’s true that providing the Social Security Administration with a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form completed by your treating physician is not required as part of your application for Social Security disability benefits, the form plays a crucial role in the decision process, and will be completed either way. If you haven’t provided a form from your doctor, then one will be filled out at Disability Determination Services (DDS) by a medical consultant who will work off your records.
Won’t My Medical Records Tell DDS Everything They Need to Know?
Although your medical records will contain comprehensive documentation of your disabilities, they will not contain a full picture of the impact your disabilities have on your ability to consistently perform the functions necessary to maintain employment. That kind of insight can only come from a medical professional who has an ongoing relationship with you. This is why significant weight is given to an RFC form completed by your physician.
So while it’s tempting to “let your medical records speak for themselves,” especially if your doctor charges a fee to complete the RFC form, it’s in your best interest to have your doctor fill out the form. Typically, the fee charged by your doctor is small and the benefit to having your doctor complete the form is significant.
There Are Many Decisions to Make When Applying for Social Security Disability
Each decision—such as whether to have your doctor complete the RFC form—can have important consequences in your eligibility determination. Accordingly, it is important to make sure that you are making the right decisions for your claim. You can begin getting the advice you need about the Social Security disability application process or appeals process now by contacting our board-certified disability attorneys via this website or by phone. Additionally, we invite you to download a free copy of our book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, for more important information.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.