Social Security was designed to help those in need. Millions of Americans currently benefit from the program, a large portion of those receiving benefits due to their severe disabilities. To ensure a smooth application process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it is important that all significant documents are in order.
What are Residual Functioning Capacity forms and why does my doctor need to complete one?
Before we can address this, we must first understand how disabilities get approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Anyone applying for SSDI has their disability compared to those found in the “Blue Book." This book, designed by the SSA, includes a list of all severe disabilities that are pre-approved to qualify for disability insurance. If a person’s disability matches a listing, they are ok’d for insurance and will receive monthly disbursements based on their circumstances.
On the other hand, many people who receive SSDI do not have a disability listed in the Blue Book. These people qualify for a “medical vocational allowance.” This allowance is the SSA’s way of saying, “You don’t meet our guidelines, but you’re still severely disabled.”
Qualifying for a medical vocational allowance involves a bit more paperwork and negotiation, so it is vital that you provide as much information as possible when applying. Aside from medical history, medical bills, and statements, one of the best pieces of information you can put forward is a Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) form.
RFC forms are filled out for every disability case, regardless of what insurance you qualify for. They are typically filled out by the SSA’s Disability De-termination Services (DDS) to help assess the severity of your impairment. While most people leave this job to the DDS, having your doctor fill out an RFC form can provide much more credibility to your case. Here is why:
- One of the main sections of the RFC form classifies the level of work that the patient can perform with his/her disability. These classifications vary from “sedentary” to “very heavy” work. Those who can still perform heavy or very heavy work despite their disability are typically not considered for SSDI. However, if your RFC form indicates that you are only suited for light to sedentary work, you demonstrate a stronger need for assistance from the SSA.
- The other most crucial area of the RFC form is the “expectant medical improvement” section. This is where a doctor evaluates how long they expect it will take for the patient to fully recover and return to work as normal. If you’re expected to improve, the recommended recovery time can be anywhere from a few months to 18 months. If improvement is either “possible” or “unlikely”, the expected recovery can span multiple years. The longer the recovery time, the more like SSA will approve your disability.
Providing an RFC form has the potential to greatly strengthen your case. To include an RFC form with your application, you can print a copy from the SSA’s website to present to your doctor.
Consulting with a Social Security Attorney
Applying for SSDI can be a daunting and lengthy process. However, with the help of a Social Security attorney, the process becomes much simpler. Attorneys help people like you every day with filing paperwork and smartly presenting cases. Clients with legal representation are also statistically much more likely to receive SSDI.
If you are interested in filing for Social Security, consider speaking with a Social Security attorney today.