If you want to win Social Security disability benefits, in my opinion it is essential to get a Residual Functional Capacity statement.
It is the single most important step in a Social Security disability case.
These RFCs go by a lot of different names: Medical Source Statement, Medical Opinion, Narrative. However, Residual Functional Capacity simply means what you can still do despite your disabilities and impairments. Put another way, your RFC is what you can do considering your workplace limitations.
Since Social Security disability cases focus on your ability to work, your RFC is a critical part of your Social Security disability case.
So, how do I develop my workplace limitations and residual functional capacity?
While many lawyers use a custom form (my Colorado law firm uses special forms for our clients which we have fine tuned over the years) Social Security provides two general workplace limitations forms that anyone can use.
- The Social Security physical limitations form is called HA-1151 SSA RFC form.
- The Social Security form for psychological limitations is called, HA-1152 SSA RFC-Mental form.
You can download the forms directly from the links above.
Note: these are forms for your doctor (or other healthcare provider) to fill out. Other than entering your name and Social Security number, you should not fill out the form nor suggest answers to your doctor. The entire purpose to these forms is that they are the doctor’s opinion about what you can and cannot do.
Under SSR 06-03p, Social Security has to consider the opinion of “other acceptable sources,” such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, licensed clinical social workers, naturopaths, chiropractors, audiologists, and therapists in determining what you can and cannot do. The take away point is that while it is often best to have the form completed, or at least co-signed, by a doctor, you can have the forms completed by another medical professional such as a nurse or PA.
Image provided by Viktor Hanacek.