When you apply for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your case and determine whether or not you are capable of working. It will consider your medical records and work history and perform a residual functional capacity evaluation, which we’ll discuss in a little more detail below.

How the SSA Determines If You Are Disabled

When determining your eligibility for disability benefits, the SSA uses five guiding questions:

  1. Are you working? (Your work income cannot exceed $1,090/month to qualify.)
  2. Is your condition “severe”? (Does your disability interfere with basic work-related activities?)
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions? (You will need adequate medical evidence to support your claim.)
  4. Can you do the work you did previously? (If your condition does not hamper your ability to perform work you’ve done in the past 15 years, you will not qualify for benefits.)
  5. Can you do any other type of work? (If you can’t continue your prior occupation, given your condition, is there another type of work you are capable of doing?)

Your Residual Functional Capacity

A residual functional capacity (RFC) is an evaluation of the movements, skills and abilities you are and are not capable of doing. The SSA needs to know what you’re still capable of doing to determine if you can still work. To win your claim, you must prove through medical evidence that you don’t have ability to work ANY job in the regional and national economy. The Disability Determination Services will assess your RFC and make a determination.

Naturally, you’ll want to ensure you have a physician overseeing your care who is sensitive to your situation and will assess your condition fairly. Your doctor will need to fill out the SSA’s Physical Residual Functional Capacity Assessment form, Form SSA-4734-BK.

The form asks the physician to assess and report your ability to perform tasks such as the following:

  • Lifting objects;
  • Standing and sitting for lengths of time;
  • Pushing and pulling, using the hands and feet;
  • Postural limitation, e.g., balancing, kneeling, bending;
  • Visual limitations, e.g., depth perception, field of vision; and
  • Communicative limitations, such as hearing and speaking abilities.

If you suffer from psychological disabilities, your physician will need to utilize the Mental Residual Functional Capacity Assessment form, Form SSA-4734-F4-SUP.

Get a FREE Consultation with a Disability Attorney

Patton Brown Law disability attorneys in Winston-Salem are available to help with your SSA application or appeal. We handle all types of disability claims, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about your benefits or the application process. Call us today at 855-860-2150 to schedule a free consultation.