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“Residual Functional Capacity” in Social Security Disability Evaluation

“Residual Functional Capacity” in Social Security Disability Evaluation

As a correlative step in its disability evaluation, the Social Security Administration examines an individual’s residual functional capacity (RFC). The nature of the individual’s impairment(s) will determine to what degree his ability to work is impacted. The bedrock of the RFC assessment is what is the most that an individual can do; not the least. An individual’s RFC is that remaining functionality that the individual has despite the limitations caused by his impairment. An RFC assessment is made based on all the evidence, which may include the individual’s own account of his limitations, observations by physicians, psychologists, friends, neighbors, and the like, work attempt records, and the individual’s medical records.

The assessment of an individual’s RFC is used to determine the type of work that the individual can perform, despite his impairment, on a regular and continual basis. A regular and continual basis has been defined as constituting an eight-hour day and five-day workweek or something equivalent thereto. All impairments are considered, if more than one exists, including those that are not “severe.”

The RFC assessment is first used to determine whether the individual can perform past relevant work. If the individual is incapable of performing such past work, the assessment is used in conjunction with the individual’s vocational experience to reach the ultimate disability determination.

Copyright 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

Settlements & Awards
  • Mattoon.

    52-year-old worker. 9th grade education. Left hand tendon laceration. Permanent restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $436.64 per week for life.

  • Champaign.

    54-year-old CNA. Bilateral shoulder surgeries. Permanent restrictions. Two vocational experts failed to locate suitable light duty work. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $441.93 per week for life.

  • Springfield.

    66-year-old maintenance worker. Failed two level lumbar fusion. Permanent restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $538.36 per week for life.

  • Quincy.

    56-year-old municipal worker. Lumbar and S1 radiculopathy. Permanent work restrictions. No surgery. Failed job search. Awarded $466.13 per week for life. Total expected lifetime payout $581,730.00

  • Quincy.

    52-year-old CNA. Lumbar fusion. Permanent restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $420.33 per week for life. Total expected lifetime payout $671,571.96.

  • Springfield, IL.

    63-year-old truck driver. Four shoulder surgeries. Permanent work restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $802.61 per week for life. Total expected lifetime payout $780,467.00

  • Quincy, IL.

    56-year-old street worker. Disc injury. No surgery. Permanent work restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $466.13 per week for life. Total expected lifetime payout of award is $586,577.99

  • Quincy, IL.

    52-year-old LPN. Lumbar fusion. Permanent work restrictions. Failed job search. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $420.33 per week for life. Total expected lifetime payout of award is $677,571.00

  • Springfield, IL.

    56-year-old union pipe-fitter. Injured forearm/surgery. Permanent restrictions. Job change. Wage loss. Awarded wage differential of $550 a week for life. Total lifetime expected payout is $833,804

  • Springfield, IL.

    54-year-old union laborer. Spinal injuries and head trauma. Unable to return to work. Permanent and total disability. Awarded $642.50 per week for life. Total lifetime expected lifetime payout of $998,400

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