1. Social Security Disability
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  3. Glossary
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  5. Mental Residual Functional Capacity

Mental Residual Functional Capacity

When you apply for Social Security Disability payments, your disability will be evaluated based on its severity and the extent to which it impairs your capacity to work. To determine the extent to which your handicap limits you, Social Security requires you to complete a “RFC” or “residual functional capacity” form. Using your RFC, Social Security will seek to assess what you can perform despite your impairment. Your residual functional capacity is described as what you can do despite your impairment. As a result, your RFC must demonstrate that you have extremely limited or no residual functional capacity in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

There are two general categories of RFCs (physical and mental) as well as a variety of RFCs for individual circumstances. To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits due to a mental disability, your physician must perform a mental RFC.

Each component of the form requests a rating from your physician on a scale of “not significantly impaired” to “markedly impaired.” The form’s primary sections are as follows:

  • Comprehension and memory
    Ability to recall locations and work-related procedures
  • Persistent attention and perseverance
    Capacity to maintain a usual routine in the absence of particular supervision
  • Interaction with others
    Capacity to interact appropriately with the general public
  • Adaptation
    Capacity to adapt adequately to changes in the work environment

Your physician will be questioned about factors that indicate you have a disorder that is included in the Social Security Blue Book and hence qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits. Each mental impairment has its own section, which contains a checklist of symptoms and a severity rating. Your physician will assess your restrictions based on everyday living challenges, interpersonal issues, concentration and persistence difficulties, and so forth.

To increase your chances of qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is critical that your physician completes this form meticulously, not just by ticking the relevant boxes, but also by adding personal diagnostic and treatment findings. A complete mental RFC significantly reduces the likelihood that your Claims Representative will request that you appear for a Consultative Examination.