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What is a residual functional capacity assessment?

Residents in Missouri who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits will ikely be required to submit to a "residual functional capacity assessment." In this post, we will explain the nature of a functional capacity assessment and show how it affects a person's chances of receiving SSDI benefits.

The medical evidence that accompanies an initial SSD claim for benefits may not completely answer certain questions concerning the nature and extent of the applicant's qualifying illness or injury. A residual functional capacity assessment is then used to obtain more information about how the illness or injury affects the applicant's ability to work.

In conducting a residual functional capacity assessment, the Social Security Administration or SSA uses all of the medical evidence submitted by the applicant. This evidence may include doctors' reports, test results and statements from witnesses such as co-workers and family members concerning the applicant's ability to perform the duties of his or her prior employment.

Once the SSA obtains the relevant evidence, it assesses nature and extent of the applicant's physical limitations and the effect of those limitations on the applicant's ability to work. In other words, the residual functional capacity assessment is used by the SSA to determine what tasks the applicant can still perform.

If the remaining abilities do not permit the applicant to perform his or her job, the person will be determined to be disabled; if the person can still perform the functions of his or her job, even on a limited basis, the application will be denied. If the applicant suffers from more than one disability, the SSA will consider the combined effect of all disabilities in making a functional capacity assessment.

This post provides some insight into the complexities behind the SSDI benefit application process. The services of a lawyer who specializes in handling SSDI claims can be very helpful both in making the initial application and in pursuing an appeal if the application is denied. The application and appeal process can be complex; therefore, it is important that applicants are well aware of their rights and options.

Source: Code of Federal Regulations, §416.945, Your residual functional capacity, accessed on July 16, 2016

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