Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) refers to an individual’s ability to consistently perform the basic physical and mental tasks necessary to maintain employment. The RFC form is an evaluation tool used by the disability examiner, Social Security Administration, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to inform their decision on if an individual has limitations that are substantial enough to be awarded disability benefits.
Whether you’re applying for the first time or preparing for an appeal, the RFC form will play an essential role in your Social Security disability benefits case. How the form is handled could mean the difference between a favorable outcome and a denied claim.
Control the RFC form – don’t let it control you.
A completed RFC form is not required when you file for SSDI or SSI. If there is not one included in your application, the disability examiner handling your case will review your existing records with a medical professional employed by Disability Determination Services. This medical professional will fill out an RFC on your behalf.
Many applicants don’t recognize the importance of this document, so it is often left to DDS. This is a problem because a doctor who has never personally examined you cannot offer a genuinely informed perspective on your limitations.
Along with demonstrating the professional opinion of a physician who has a relationship with you, an RFC form completed by your doctor will:
- Hold more weight in Social Security court than a RFC form made by DDS.
- Ensure you have completed medical tests that may provide important supporting evidence in your claim.
- Give your doctor the opportunity to explain the full scope of your medical issues and how they impact your ability to work.
- Gives the court a professional interpretation of your medical records, which will be of more use than just the medical records alone.
- Clarify the scope of your disabilities with the ALJ, making it easier for her or him to reach a verdict.
You should be aware that some doctors might charge a small fee for completing an RFC form, as this task can be quite time consuming and often outside of their usual duties.
Are you struggling to understand the qualifications for disability in Texas? Talk to a Dallas Social Security Disability lawyer if you’re not sure how to proceed with filing or appealing a claim. To set up a free case review, call toll-free: 800-800-6353today.
Also, be sure to ask for your FREE copy of our book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.