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Are there some Disability Attorneys who do not gather RFC forms?

Believe it or not, there are some disability claims representatives who do not make the attempt to gather an RFC, or residual functional capacity form, for their client's cases prior to a disability hearing.

I recall visiting a forum in which one of the members was a former ALJ a.k.a. administrative law judge who stated that it was not unusual for some (non-recommended) reps to --

A) show up without having read the claimant's file beforehand.

B) show up without having obtained the necessary updates on medical records.


C) show up without having obtained an RFC form from a claimant's doctor to support the case.

Now, I will state that it isn't always possible to obtain a medical source statement (a.k.a. RFC form) from a claimant's treating physician or psychiatrist. In the process of preparing a case for a disability hearing, I have found myself that, on occasion, it can be next to impossible to obtain one (the reasons why will be addressed in a later post). self-respecting disability lawyer or non-attorney representative will willingly bypass this very effective tool for winning a case...unless they are, for lack of better words, incompetent.

Incompetent is a strong word. But let me explain how powerful an RFC form can be. While medical records will address a claimant's diagnosis and, in a limited sense, the prognosis, an RFC form will provide a disability judge what he or she really needs: a detailed description of a disability claimant's remaining function, and current physical or mental limitations. By comparison, only on rare occasions will a doctor's office notes or a hospital's records (including discharge summaries) ever provide this level of detail regarding functionality. Which is unfortunate, because the SSD program and SSI program rely completely on a claimant's residual function in order to determine --

A) whether or not they can return to their past work


B) whether or not they can perform some type of other work.

RFC forms can, as mentioned, be difficult to obtain from doctors. Many simply do not want to take the 20 minutes required to review a patient's file and then complete a form (which is very often just a check-off form, as is the one that is freely availabe on at the bottom of the homepage).

But, even so, since RFC forms can easily make the difference between losing or winning disability benefits, a disability representative who does not make the attempt to gather one for his or her client's case is certainly providing less-than-optimal representation.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

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    These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    What Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
    Disability for a mental condition
    Tips for Filing for disability
    Financial Help Filing For Disability
    Checklist for filing for disability, SSI or SSD
    Qualifying for disability benefits, how to qualify for SSD or SSI
    Filing a disability application: the steps
    Disability award notice, how long it takes to get benefits
    How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go?
    What makes you eligible to get disability?
    How to check my disability claim status?
    Can a disability attorney speed up a disability case?
    SSI disability Award Letter
    How long to get approved for disability?
    How to apply for disability benefits
    How long does disability back pay take?
    What are qualifications for getting disability?
    What medical conditions can you file disability for?
    Disability Lawyer help questions
    Social Security Attorneys, Disability Representatives