Physical Residual Functional Capacity Forms-  Part II

An April 2017 blog discussed the importance of getting an RFC form completed for your Social Security disability case. I will discuss in more detail exactly what this form contains. Once again, a physical RFC is an assessment of what you are able and not able to do. By assessing  your physical capacity, a Judge can determine what  exertional level of work you are able to perform. Those work levels, in very simplistic definitions, are as follows:

  • You can sit most of the day, stand/ walk occasionally and lift 10 pounds or less as required.
  • You can sometimes lift up to 20 pounds and regularly lift 10 pounds or less. You can frequently walk, stand, push and pull using either your arms or legs.
  • You can frequently lift or carry 25 pounds or less and occasionally lift up to 50 pounds.
  • You can often lift and carry up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift objects weighing up to 100 pounds.
  • Very heavy. You may sometimes lift objects that weigh more than 100 pounds and frequently lift or carry 50-pound items.

A physical RFC is important to have for your case  because it is compared to the work you have had in the past so see if you can still perform your past relevant work. Additionally, the restrictions placed on the RFC may prevent you from any type of work at a competitive level. The RFC also looks at other non-exertional restrictions, including postural limitations (stooping, kneeling), manipulative limitations (gross/fine motor skills), visual limitations, communicative limitations (hearing, speaking) and environmental limitations.

It is important to note that there must be objective medical evidence to support the doctor’s RFC assessment. In other words, the restrictions cannot be from left field. For example, if the lifting restriction is ten pounds because an MRI shows a herniated disc in the back, then there is objective medical evidence to support the opinion. Even if you have strong medical records, an RFC is helpful because if makes a connection between your diagnosed signs and symptoms and how they cause certain limitations. In other words, it helps the decision maker, who is not a medical profession, better understand how your medical condition affects your ability to do certain things.

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