Monday, October 6, 2014

What is "Residual Functional Capacity" or RFC?

In preparing your Social Security Disability case you probably have come across the technical term "Residual Functional Capacity" or RFC, and are probably wondering what it means.  The federal regulations define this term as follows:

"Your residual functional capacity is the most you can still do despite your limitations."   20 CFR 404.1545; 20 CFR 416.945

Residual functional capacity is the level of functioning that your are still capable of after taking into account all of the physical and mental problems that your condition(s) causes you.

Social Security considers two different types of RFC: physical and mental.   Social Security will look at your physical RFC in terms of sedentary, light medium, heavy or very heavy.  On the other hand, your mental RFC is summarized as less than unskilled, unskilled, semiskilled, or skilled.

Determining your RFC is key in your disability case.  Social Security reviews your medical records and other evidence to determine your RFC.  In many cases, the RFC determination is made using an opinion submitted by one of your doctors that explains your ability to engage in specific activities such as your ability to sit, stand, walk or lift.