What is an RFC Form?


The Residual Functional Capacity form is a condition-specific questionnaire that gives your doctor the best chance to help you win your case as you apply for Social Security disability benefits. The form asks your doctor specific questions such as: “Does the disability or impairment prevent the patient from standing for six to eight hours?” or “How far can the patient walk non-stop?” It also asks specifically about your ability to reach above your shoulders or below your waist or your ability to handle objects with your fingers. This form, relatively unknown to applicants and not advertised by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by doctors, allows you to tell your story and prove your case when other methods fail. Here’s how:

It Helps You Accurately Tell Your Story

Everyone has a story to tell. Even though yours is to be taken seriously and is very important to you, it may not be seen that way by the person that is hearing your case. Millions of applications go through the Social Security Administration every year. Each of these applications is filled out by a person with a unique story and experience. However, you can imagine that reading through and hearing all these cases may cause them to become impersonal or lose their uniqueness over time. The RFC form provides you a unique and fresh way to give detailed information about your condition. It allows those who are hearing your case to understand you better. The form can prove your limited functionality capacity in a powerful, yet still objective, manner.

It Fills Holes Caused By Medical Records

Medical records kept by doctors can be volumes thick. Though they are filled with notes about your physical history and condition, they do not necessarily provide specific details about your ability to complete everyday functions. Remember, the SSA is looking to see whether you can perform the most basic of jobs. In legal terms, your condition must be “less than sedentary” to receive benefits. Medical records often do not give all of the necessary details of your condition. You may be surprised at what that means for you. Many times, records omit crucial details like your ability to sit, stand, carry, reach, etc. These details help provide a specific, concrete idea of your basic functionality to someone that has never seen you before. If the judge hearing your case consults a Vocational Evaluator or medical expert and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) without a detailed account of your limited functionality, the chances are high they he or she will find you able to work, and your claim will be denied. The RFC form is able to give your doctor a chance to explain in a more detailed manner that you are unable to work.

Cases are Won and Lost with the RFC form

There are RFC forms for every medical condition that will form the basis of a claim. Here at Summit Disability Law Group, we work with both you and your doctor through the use of this form to ensure that your medical records accurately tell your story—which will greatly enhance your chances of being awarded benefits.


Photo courtesy of: Jenni C