Residual Functional Capacity

What does Residual Functional Capacity mean?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods to consider whether or not you are disabled and unable to work. First, they will determine whether or not your condition meets or exceeds a listing on their SSA Listing of Impairments. If your condition does not meet or exceed a listing, they will evaluate your residual functional capacity to work through a process called a medical vocational allowance.

Residual functional capacity is defined as the claimant’s remaining physical and mental capacity to perform work on a regular and continuing basis. Specifically, do the claimant’s limitations and impairments resulting from their physical or mental disability allow them to perform a 40 hour per week job?

After completing the medical vocational allowance process the SSA will make a determination whether your residual physical and mental capacity to work, also known as your residual functional capacity, will allow you to perform work. They will do this by evaluating both your past job and your ability to find new employment, given your current age, work experience, educational background, and transferrable job skills.

How do I prove I do not have the residual functional capacity to work?

Most claimants, who do not provide sufficient evidence that their condition “meets a listing” on the SSA Listing of Impairments, will have their claim denied. The SSA will generally deny their claim arguing they have the ability to retrain for new work. What the SSA is really claiming, however, is that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to find another job and retrain for new work.

To fight this appeal you will need to appeal your denial within 60 days from the date of the denial letter and get more medical evidence that you do not have the ability to work. Information which can lower your residual functional ability to work can include any information which clearly states that you have limitations doing any of the following: sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, reaching, and bending over.

If you have a mental disability you will need to have medical information which proves your mental capability to work is limited. Evidence supporting this fact can include information that suggests it is difficult for you to follow instructions, read, stay focused, or get along with co-workers.

Claimants may also ask their doctor to complete a residual functional capacity form which can also provide specific information about your inability to work.

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