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Residual Functional Capacity

evaluationWhen the Social Security Administration is determining disability in the Greater Cincinnati area, steps four and five of the process require the SSA to ask whether claimant can perform past relevant work or any other work in the national and local economy. In order to answer these questions, the Social Security Administration will hire an expert to perform a Residual Functional Capacity (also called an RFC).

Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation

A residual functional capacity evaluation decides what the potentially disabled person can do in spite of his or her limitations. The Social Security Act defines residual functional capacity as the “ability to do sustained physical and mental work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular and continuing basis.” A “regular and continuing basis” means eight hours per day, five days per week. All impairments are considered in the RFC, even if each individual impairment would not be considered a disability by itself.

The report from a residual functional capacity evaluation is usually based on the exertional levels defined by the Social Security Act:  sedentary, light, medium, heavy and very heavy.  Typically, younger workers are considered “retrainable” for sedentary positions, such as answering phones or entering data, and this causes younger people to be far less likely to get disability than older people.

The Area You Live In and the Jobs Available There Effect Disability Claims

When thinking about whether your residual functional capacity prevents you from working certain jobs, such as sedentary or light duty jobs, it is important to think about the area in which you live. For example, there are more job opportunities in Northern Kentucky or Cincinnati than there are in rural, Eastern Kentucky. Therefore, the Administrative Law Judge could find disability for someone that does not live in an area where sedentary jobs are available, despite that person’s ability to do sedentary work, but not find disability for someone that lives in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky because sedentary jobs exist here.

If you are concerned about whether your residual functional capacity evaluation has been performed correctly, or whether you are able to do work in the Greater Cincinnati area, please contact Lawrence & Associates today!

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