Social Security Disability And Residual Functioning Capacity
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) was put in place to help people who can no longer work, but who have worked in the past. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines work not only as the job you have been doing up to your point of illness or injury, but any type of work at all. For example, if you can no longer lift heavy boxes due to a back injury, you may be able to do some light assembly work. The SSA uses a tool called residual functioning capacity to determine how much and what kind of work you are able to do. To find out how the SSA determines your level of residual functioning capacity, read on.
How Does the SSA Determine Your Residual Functioning Capacity?
Working in tandem with your doctors and the Disability Determination Service a state-run agency, the SSA will evaluate your ability to work at five levels.
- Sedentary Level: The ability to work while seated and to walk and stand for brief periods of time. Capable of lifting objects under 10 pounds, such as small tools.
- Light Level: The ability to stand and walk frequently and the use of hand and arms. Capable of lifting up to 20 pounds and to carry to up to 10 pounds. You are automatically deemed capable of sedentary work at this level as well.
- Medium Level: The ability to lift up to 50 pounds and to carry up to 25 pounds. You are automatically deemed capable of doing light and sedentary work at this level as well.
- Heavy Level: The ability to lift up to 100 pounds and to carry up to 50 pounds. You are automatically deemed capable off doing medium, light and sedentary work at this level as well.
- Very Heavy Level: The ability to lift objects that weight over 100 pounds. You are automatically deemed capable of doing heavy, medium, light and sedentary work at this level as well.
How is the Residual Functioning Capacity Determination Used?
The SSA looks at your past work history and matches it to RFC levels as mentioned above, and evaluates your current level of functioning based on the medical evidence and examinations, assigning it a level of functioning, from sedentary to very heavy. If it is determined that you are capable of doing the same or similar work that you have performed in the past, you will not be eligible to receive benefits. The levels of functioning take into account three requirements:
- You must be able to work at the determined level full time.
- You must be able to work at the determined level on a regular basis.
- You must be able to work at the determined level without excessive absences or without a need to take excessive breaks.
The determination of residual functioning capacity is just one of many complicated aspects of filing and being approved for a Social Security Disability claim. Get a professional social security disability lawyer on your side who knows how the process works and who can work on your behalf to get you the benefits that you deserve.