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Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation

Dedicated Social Security Lawyer Representing Injured Individuals

If you are no longer able to work due to a medical condition, you may be eligible for financial support through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. SSDI benefits are paid to eligible workers who are unable to work due to long-term disabilities. Proving to the Social Security Administration that your disability prevents you from doing any work, however, can be a complex process. Having assisted clients with the Social Security application process for over 34 years, Attorney Russell J. Goldsmith has abundant experience dealing with these matters. He provides his clients with zealous and thorough representation.

Summary of Medical Eligibility Requirements

The Social Security Act deems a person “disabled” for purposes of SSDI benefits if he or she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to any medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted, or that can be expected to last, for a continuous period of 12 months or longer, or that can be expected to result in the individual’s death. If all of the preliminary non-medical requirements are met, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in the state of the applicant will determine whether his or her condition qualifies as a disability. A DDS examiner will evaluate all of the medical evidence, including medical records, any medication, doctors’ notes, and other documentation, and assess the mental and physical limitations imposed upon the applicant as a result of his or her medical condition(s). The examiner also will consider how the conditions affect the claimant’s ability to undertake activities necessary for the performance of work functions. The amount of activity that you can handle while being disabled is known as your residual functional capacity.

Residual Functional Capacity

The DDS claims examiner assigned to a case will conduct a residual functional capacity assessment of the individual’s disability claim, based on the information contained in the file. Although the claimant or the claimant’s attorney is generally responsible for providing or signing forms to release the medical evidence for your file, DDS may also request that you submit to a consultative examination if necessary.

In assessing residual functional capacity, the claimant’s ability to meet the physical, mental, sensory, and other work requirements are considered. Physical aspects include a limited ability to perform relevant work-related demands on a regular basis, such as sitting, standing, moving, lifting, reaching, and other kinds of physical actions that would limit the individual’s work performance. Mental abilities include limitations on understanding, remembering, and responding appropriately in work situations, concentrating for periods of time and dealing with work stress, in addition to any type of mental restriction that reduces the ability to perform the basic functions of either skilled or unskilled jobs. In addition, other senses that are limited by the applicant’s impairment will be considered, such as vision or hearing loss, or any other condition that reduces his or her ability to perform work-related functions. All of these impairments are considered collectively in this evaluation, including mental and physical conditions, and those that, standing alone, would not be deemed severe.

The applicant’s residual functional capacity will then be used to determine whether he or she is capable of performing his or her past relevant work. The claims examiner will look to the individual’s previous 15 years of employment to find the type of work that he or she has done in the past, and, considering his or her residual functional capacity, decide whether the claimant is still able to work full-time in any of those positions.

If DDS finds that you are unable to do your past work, they will then consider whether you are able to do any other work that exists in the national economy in significant numbers throughout both your local region and the national economy, considering your residual functional capacity, your medical condition, your work experience and skills, your education level, your age, and other factors. If you are over the age of 50, the Social Security Administration will look to see if your age is a further impediment to transferring to other manners of gainful employment by utilizing the medical-vocational grid rules, which take into account these various factors, in deciding whether you should be considered of returning to some manner of gainful employment. If you are deemed incapable of returning to any positions that constitute your past relevant work, and to other types of work that are deemed to exist in significant numbers, you will be approved for SSDI benefits.

Discuss Your SSDI Application With an Experienced Attorney

You have the opportunity to retain legal representation throughout the application and appeals process and it remains in one’s best interest to obtain the advice of a disability specialist at the earliest possible opportunity. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith, our legal team provides personalized legal services and a detail-oriented approach, Contact SSDI lawyer Russell J. Goldsmith by calling (800) 773-8622 or using our online form to arrange a free consultation.