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What is residual functional capacity?

When an Ohioan has an injury or condition that prevents them from working, Social Security disability benefits can be essential toward making ends meet. However, there are certain terms that can be important for the case. One is residual functional capacity. Knowing what RFC is and how it is assessed is key to a disability claim, as meeting the criteria is necessary for the Social Security Administration to approve benefits.

With RFC, the impairment and its symptoms will be assessed. The RFC is the maximum amount of work that the person can do. The limitations can be physical, mental or both. The SSA will gauge the RFC using the available evidence. For people who are suffering from more than one impairment, all medically determinable impairments will be taken into consideration. This includes those that are not considered severe. The RFC will be based on the medical information and other evidence provided.

The SSA is responsible for accruing the medical history and, if needed, sending the claimant for consultative examinations to come to a determination. Evidence will be from medical sources, but others - family members, friends, and neighbors - can also give evidence. RFC gauges the person's ability to fulfill the demands of work in a mental, physical, and sensory capacity. The SSA will determine whether the person can do work relevant to what they did in the past. If it is found that the person cannot do the work or there is no relevant past work available, the SSA will determine if there is work that the person can adjust to.

With physical abilities, the person might not be able to stand, walk, lift, carry, pull and do other physical necessities. With mental abilities, there might be an inability to understand, remember, follow instructions, respond appropriately to directions and other factors. Limitations can also stem from skin conditions, vision issues, hearing impairments, epilepsy and more. The limitations that come from these problems will be factored in. When there are severe impairments but they do not meet the SSA's criteria for RFC, all limiting effects will be considered.

Because SSD benefits can be so vital, knowing important details such as what RFC is and how it is used can be overlooked. Having legal assistance from an attorney who understands all areas of Social Security Disability can ensure that a claim has a solid chance of being approved.

Source: ssa.gov, "ยง 416.945. Your residual functional capacity.," accessed on May 12, 2018

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