SSDI medical assessmentYou have one or more medical conditions that make work and substantial gainful activity impossible. While you might assume that means you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it isn't that simple. The Social Security Administration (SSA) only awards benefits to claimants who have a medically determinable impairment (MDI) that they can prove with objective evidence from acceptable medical sources (AMS). 

Qualifying conditions are found in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments, along with the medical criteria you must meet for approval. Unfortunately, even people who are severely disabled can struggle to meet the SSA's rigid definition of disability. Getting approved for SSDI can be particularly challenging if you don't meet the exact Blue Book criteria for your condition, have a disabling illness that isn't listed in the Blue Book, or have multiple health issues, the combined effects of which are disabling. 

Completing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment can help prove that your condition is as disabling as a disability included in the Listing of Impairments. Here's what you should know about RFC assessments and how the caring and capable attorneys with Keefe Disability Law can help you gather or develop the medical evidence needed to prove your MDI and get approved for the benefits you deserve. 

What an RFC Assessment Is 

An RFC evaluation is an in-depth assessment of your physical or mental impairments and symptoms and how they affect your ability to perform substantial gainful employment. There are separate RFC forms for assessing physical and mental limitations. The physical RFC assessment covers exertional, postural, manipulative (gross and fine motor skills), visual, communication, and environmental (sensitivity to extreme temperatures, noise, vibration, etc.) limitations. Its mental health counterpart addresses understanding and memory, sustained concentration and persistence, social interaction, and adaptation impairments.

What a Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation Does

These assessments convey the severity of your conditions to the disability examiner handling your claim, allowing them to evaluate your ability to engage in substantial gainful employment. It also helps the SSA define the maximum activities and tasks you can do despite your physical or psychological limitations. Disability Determination Services (DDS) uses the RFC assessment and other information in your medical record to determine whether you're eligible for benefits. The RFC helps disability examiners decide whether you can do any of the work you've done in the past or any work at all.

Completing an RFC Assessment 

If completing an RFC assessment sounds complicated and intimidating, we have good news: A doctor, preferably your doctor, will fill out the form after studying your medical record and conducting a thorough physical (or mental) examination. The SSA may have a doctor from the DSS complete an RFC form when evaluating your claim. However, a doctor who's treated you will be better able to explain your diagnosis, prognosis, and limitations than a doctor who doesn't know you and is basing their decision on your assembled medical history. Take a copy of the appropriate RFC form to your doctor and ask them to complete it. (Note that the SSA gives more weight to RFCs completed by relevant medical specialists than those filled out by family practitioners or primary care doctors.)

Our Adept Disability Lawyers Can Help You Complete Your RFC Evaluation to Prove Your MDI to the SSA

Keefe Disability Lawyers has helped countless clients get the medical evidence needed to support their claims for SSDI benefits. We may be able to do the same for you. Our firm has access to a network of highly-qualified medical specialists who consult on our cases. 

Ready to find out what our accomplished SSDI lawyers can do for you? Contact us online or call (508) 283-5500 to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation with a member of our knowledgeable legal team. For more information, request a complimentary download of our book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer