When people apply for Social Security Disability in Illinois, they must go through an evaluation process and part of this process involves the determination of their residual functional capacity. According to the Social Security Administration, this is an assessment of what work-related actions people can do with their disability. The assessment is recorded on a residual functional capacity form and there are two types of assessments a doctor may perform – physical or mental.
The choice of assessment depends on the disability or disabilities that a person is suffering from. In some cases, the SSA may use both forms as a way to decide whether a person is disabled. While the forms are generally filled out by a claims examiner, it is also a good idea for people to ask their own doctors to fill them out as they ask for a great deal of information in addition to test or medical examination results.
The physical assessment
When doctors fill out the physical form to determine residual functional capacity, they should include things such as the following:
- Weight lifting availability
- The amount of time the person can sit
- The amount of time the person can stand
- The ability of the person to use his or her fingers
- Whether the person is able to walk and how much walking they are able to do
In addition to these, the doctor must also provide information relating to a person’s physical ability to reach for things like a phone or book, bending down to pick something up or even whether they can pull on a door handle. The information gathered on the physical form is then used by the claims examiner to determine if the person is able to qualify for one of five physical categories: sedentary work, light work, medium work, heavy work, and very heavy work.
The mental assessment
The mental residual functional capacity assessment is also used to assess people’s working skills but in a different way. On the form, doctors must provide data concerning a person’s ability to concentrate, understand instructions, follow simple and complicated directions, make work-related decisions, pay attention, complete tasks within a certain amount of time, remember instructions and the ability to complete a work week without the person’s psychological symptoms interfering.
Doctors also include details about a person’s ability to interact with people and adapt to their work environment. For example, the form will indicate a level of limitation that they have when it comes to getting along with co-workers, accepting instructions, asking questions and maintain behavior that is appropriate in society. People who have questions about their residual functional capacity should talk to a qualified social security disability attorney.