Is The Residual Functional Capacity Form Necessary In A Disability Claim?

Law Blog

In considering your application for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA), will review a lot of documentation. One of the most important documents that is considered is the residual functional capacity (RFC) form. The form is usually completed by your doctor and carries considerable weight in your disability determination.

Why Is the Residual Functional Capacity Form Important?

The RFC form is a record of your mental and physical health and how it affects your ability to perform your usual job duties. For instance, if you suffer from back pain, details, such as how you are unable to lift items or sit for long, should be included on the form.

The SSA will review the form and your medical records and determine if there is a consistency between the statements made on the form and in your records. If there is, you could potentially be approved for disability benefits if you meet the other requirements.

Without the form, the SSA has no way of knowing exactly how your impairment affects your job performance. Your medical records are not enough. If you submit only your records, you are taking a risk that the worker reviewing your case can infer from the records that you cannot work.

Who Completes the Form?

You can complete the RFC form, but you should not. If possible, your treating doctor should complete the form. There are several reasons that the doctor should, but the main reason is that a medical professional's assessment of your condition carries far more weight.

The doctor can tie the details that are included in the medical records to those provided on the RFC form and eliminate any room for doubt about your ability to work. For instance, if the doctor states that you are unable to lift heavy items, he or she can cite the condition that is preventing you from doing so and refer to the specific details in the records that would back up this conclusion.

What If Your Doctor Refuses?

Some doctors refuse to complete RFC firms. The reasons for refusing can vary, but it is worth it to ask your doctor why he or she does not want to complete the form. Once you know the reason, you can address the doctor's concern.

For instance, if the doctor wants a fee for completing the form, you can simply pay it and have the form completed. If he or she believes it will take too much time, show him or her the form. It is relatively short and the doctor's involvement in your case usually ends at that point.

Talk to your attorney to learn more about the RFC form and visit a site like


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