Are you applying for Social Security disability for the first time? If so, it is crucial that you understand some of the key elements of the SSDI or SSI claims process. You will need to prove your disability status—and a document called an RFC form plays an important part in the process.
You may be wondering: What is an RFC form and how does it impact a Social Security disability claim? In this article, you will find an overview of the most important things to know about RFC forms and the SSDI/SSI disability claims process.
Understanding Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form
In order to obtain Social Security disability benefits, an applicant must prove the existence and severity of the medical impairment. In effect, this requires providing medical evidence that establishes that you cannot reasonably work as a consequence of your injury, illness, or other medical condition. The Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form is a document that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to help determine what an applicant can and cannot do. The SSA provides an example of the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment form. Some notable sections on the RFC form include:
- Limitations of ability to lift;
- Limitations on frequency of lifting;
- Limitations on ability to push and pull
- Limitations on ability to stand for long periods of time;
- Limitations on ability to sit for long periods of time;
- Postural limitations (balancing, kneeling, crouching, etc);
- Manipulative limitations (fingers, feeling, etc);
- Any visual or hearing impairments;
- Any communicative limitations; and
- Any environmental limitations.
An RFC Form Should Be Completed By Your Doctor (Ideally at the Beginning of Your Claim)
The Residual Functional Capacity form is not something that you need to navigate on your own. Instead, it is best to have your RFC form completed by your treating physician. The doctor who has provided the most extensive care will be in the best position to fill out your RFC form.
To best support your Social Security disability claim, it is recommended that your RFC form is completed and submitted as early as possible in the process—ideally when you first apply for benefits.
However, you do have the right to add a new or updated RFC form later on in your claim. For example, you could submit an RFC form as part of your SSDI or SSI appeal even if you did not previously include one with your initial claim.
RFC Form Should Supplement Other Medical Records
As a general rule, an RFC form is not, by itself, enough for most people to secure Social Security disability benefits. Instead, it is better to think of a Residual Functional Capacity form as a supplement to your other medical records. Ultimately, the more comprehensive medical documentation, the better position you will be in to secure your SSDI or SSI benefits without an unreasonable delay. If you have any questions about the RFC form and its effect on your claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced Social Security disability lawyer for help.