What Is a Residual Functional Capacity Form?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits can be extremely document-intensive. The required paperwork and forms you will be required to submit and retain may quickly pile up. While there is much paperwork to keep track of, the documentation is a critical aspect of your claim. Understanding the purpose and role of the documents can help you not only keep track of things but help you successfully navigate the claims process. One form that plays a particularly important role in the Social Security disability claims process is the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.

What Is a Residual Functional Capacity Form?

The RFC form is an assessment of a disability claimant’s “residual functional capacity.” This refers to the claimant’s ability to work that remains once you account for his or her mental or physical disability. In order to aid SSA in the determination of a disability claim, a claims examiner with Disability Determination Services (DDS) is tasked with completing a residual functional capacity assessment. 

As a part of this process, the claims examiner will take the case to a DDS medical or psychological consultant to have that person complete the RFC form.  For a physical RFC write-up, the physician consultant will rate the claimant’s residual functional capacity by evaluating the claimant’s ability to engage in everyday activities despite the disability. The RFC will account for things such as a claimant’s ability to sit for extended periods of time, walk, and bend down as well as how much the claimant can lift, among other things.

A mental RFC will note the claimant’s ability to concentrate and maintain attention to a task at hand. It will also evaluate the claimant’s social skills and ability to interact with others in a work setting, adapt to new information, accomplish simple, routine, repetitive tasks (SRRTs). Once the RFC is complete, the examiner will then do a right up and include supporting reasons as to why he or she is approving or denying the claim.

While an RFC will be completed by a professional medical consultant for DDS, you should also have an RFC form completed by your treating doctor(s). This can be extremely valuable, especially should you have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) regarding your disability claim. Social Security usually gives substantial deference to the opinion of a personal physician because that physician has first-hand knowledge of the claimant’s medical condition. This places the personal physician in a much better position to make an informed decision regarding a claimant’s disability and residual functional capacity. The personal physician can prove an informed decision based on the medical evidence and other evidence in the claimant’s medical file about why and how the claimant’s medical situation can and does impact his or her ability to retain substantially gainful employment.

Disability Attorney

Disability Advocates Group is not only here to help you manage the pile of paperwork that can come with filing a disability claim, but we are here to advocate on your behalf and set forth the strongest claim so that you may be awarded much-needed disability benefits. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.