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What is an RFC (Residual Functional Capacity)?

RFC stands for "Residual Functional Capacity" and refers to the maximum you can do in spite of your physical/psychological impairment(s). Social Security assesses residual functional capacity on a case-by-case and only after all medical records are examined. The Social Security Administration (SSA) must organize your complete medical history. In addition to the reports submitted by your own physicians, you may be asked to undergo a consultative examination by a doctor who works for Social Security.

Why Have Your RFC Evaluated

The purpose of residual functional capacity is to identify how your current limitations prevent you from meeting the physical, sensory, mental and other requirements of the workplace. The residual functional capacity (RFC) questionnaire is usually completed by a DDS (Disability Determination Services) physician. Unfortunately, RFC forms completed by DDS doctors are often written to ensure that the claimant is denied disability benefits.

You can also have your doctor fill out an RFC on your behalf. You can download an RFC for a medical professional on the SSA's website. Be sure to ask your doctor to be as thorough as possible when filling out an RFC on your behalf. The more medical evidence you have on your side, the better your chances of approval.

Getting Help With Your Claim

If you need to fill out an RFC, your claim may be more challenging to win than cases that are medically "straightforward." If this is the case for you, you should contact an experienced Social Security attorney or advocate. He or she can evaluate your claim and help you get the filing process started.