Using an RFC When Applying with a Spinal Cord Injury

Considered one of the most devastating injuries, a spinal cord injury can make it impossible to work in any vocation. Damage to the spinal cord typically results in at least the partial loss of motor skills. The worst types of spinal cord injuries render patients incapable of completing the most basic movements. To say a spinal cord injury has a negative impact on a career is a great understatement.

Tasked with managing one of the most comprehensive retirement programs in the world, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also manages a disability benefits program called Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that takes care of seriously sick and injured workers.

What is Residual Functional Capacity

Although most disability cases for spinal cord injuries are slam dunks for approval, the fact remains that not everyone suffers from the same severe symptoms. In some cases, the SSA might ask an SSDI applicant to submit a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment form. An RFC assessment form addresses how an injury such as damage to the spinal cord has impacted work performance. A representative from the SSA reviews an RFC assessment form to determine the strength of an SSDI application.

Submit an RFC for a Spinal Cord Injury

The SSA uses a resource called the Blue Book to determine SSDI eligibility. Hundreds of medical conditions list in the Blue Book under 14 categories that cover adults and children. Section 1.04 of the Blue Book discusses the severity of spinal cord injury symptoms required for an SSDI applicant to receive approval for disability benefits. You can expect to submit medical evidence that demonstrates the scope of the damage done to your spine. If you do not qualify for disability benefits because you do not meet the requirements listed in Section 1.04 of the Blue Book, you can move on to Section 11.0 that describes neurological symptoms that adversely impact you in the workplace.

Medical Records are Essential

Spinal cord injuries trigger several symptoms that need to be documented by a licensed healthcare provider. An RFC assessment form alone is not enough evidence to convince the SSA to approve your SSDI application. You also need to include medical documentation that covers the official diagnosis, as well as treatment and rehabilitation for a spinal cord injury. X-Rays should form the cornerstone of the medical evidence attached to an RFC assessment form. The SSA employs specialists in every medical field that determine the severity of an illness or an injury. An SSA examiner looks at your x-rays to decide whether the injury is severe enough to warrant the approval of your SSDI application. Other medical tests conducted for the detection of a spinal cord injury include computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Get a Free Case Evaluation

There is too much at stake for you to submit an RFC, without first knowing the strength of your assessment form. A free case evaluation, which typically takes just a few days to deliver results, gives you keen insight into whether your RFC assessment form has enough medical evidence to convince the SSA to approve your SSDI application. Since the SSA does not permit appeals for denied SSDI applications, getting a free case evaluation is not an option; it is a mandatory part of the RFC assessment form process.

Schedule a free case evaluation to see where you stand with the SSA.

Additional Resources

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