Social Security Disability SSI - Mental and Physical Residual Functional Capacity

Mental and physical residual functional capacity is a medical assessment of an individual's ability to function in spite of the limitations imposed upon them by their disabling mental and/or physical conditions.

Social Security Disability examiners consider your ability to meet the physical, mental, sensory, and other requirements of work, when they make their disability determinations. To that end, they will accept statements about your limitations from medical sources even if they have not formally examined you. However, your treating doctor's statement (medical source statement) can be an invaluable to your disability claim.

Social Security considers an individual's treating medical professional a more important source of information because they can provide Social Security with a unique perspective that other medical providers (i.e. hospital or acute caregivers) cannot provide.

If your treating physician provides a statement, make sure that it includes an opinion as to your ability to perform activities associated with work (i.e. your ability to walk, stand, lift, bend, see, hear, etc. if your disability is physical -- ability to interact with coworkers, public, and supervisors, remember directions, follow instructions, etc. if your disabling condition is mental).

They will also consider descriptions and observations with regard to the limitations caused by your disabling condition or conditions from family, friends, neighbors, and others.

If you have both mental and physical limitations, Social Security considers the total affect of your conditions when making their disability determination.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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