We Can Explain The Residual Functional Capacity Form (RFC)

At Bridgman Law Offices, we deal with all aspects of the Social Security Disability (SSD) process, including the doctor's residual functional capacity form (RFC), on a regular basis. Whether you live in North Carolina or elsewhere and are dealing with a disability, your RFC will play an important role in determining whether benefits are granted.

We encourage you to call us to discuss your disability and how we can help you get the benefits you need. Below is some general information about the RFC to get you started:

Purpose Of The RFC

The primary purpose of an RFC is to determine your residual functional capacity — simply put, your ability to perform certain work. An agent within the Disability Determination Services (DDS) department of the Social Security Administration (SSA) will first make a write-up of your case detailing the reason for his or her decision. Next, a medical or psychological professional working within the DDS will complete an RFC form that provides information about your residual functional capacity based upon the examiner's write-up and the evidence contained in your medical file.

Physical RFC Form

A physical RFC form will contain information such as:

  • How long you may sit, stand, crouch or kneel
  • The amount of weight you can reasonably lift
  • Whether you can grasp normally
  • How far you can reach above your head

If your claim is denied, having an experienced SSD attorney review your RFC form is crucial. Inaccuracies can be uncovered and an expert medical opinion obtained if need be prior to your appeal. Your appeal will take place in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) and is similar to a court hearing.

Mental RFC Form

A mental RFC form is completed by a psychiatric professional who will annotate symptoms such as poor memory and rate your ability to perform certain tasks. A mental RFC form will provide information on how well you adapt socially, learn new skills and perform simple routine repetitive tasks (SRRTs). In short, this form is used to assess your ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). The problem with this is that an inability to perform substantial gainful activity due to a mental disability is difficult to articulate on a written form.

Mental Form Denials

It's not uncommon for clients to contact an SSD attorney after receiving a mental RFC form that denies them benefits. The fact is that RFC forms completed by physicians employed by DDS recommend denials more often than they do approvals. Having your own physician fill out an RFC form on your behalf is more likely to have positive results, which is why we tend to recommend it for those claiming a mental disability.

Treating Physician Rule

Having your own doctor complete an RFC form is beneficial largely in part to the Social Security Administration's "treating physician" rule. This rule states that a treating physician who has already established a relationship with the applicant has firsthand knowledge of that person's condition and is therefore in a better position to provide evidence than a DDS doctor is. As such, DDS tends to give a great deal of consideration to the opinions of private physicians, which is why we encourage our clients to contact their own physicians early in the process.

Benefits Of A Private Physician RFC Form

Judges often rely on the opinions of claims examiners or DDS physicians who may make their decisions based on incomplete or shoddy evidence. With a clear, well-founded opinion from your physician regarding your functional capacity, the judge may be more inclined to rule in your favor.

When You Have SSD Questions, It's Time To Speak With A Lawyer

Maneuvering through the disability process can be tedious, time-consuming and incredibly difficult without the help of an experienced SSD attorney. Instead of trying to handle your claim on your own, call us at 877-330-4817 and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. From our Charlotte law office, we help people in the Atlanta metro area as well as clients in Columbia, South Carolina.