Analyzing Your Residual Functional Capacity In Disability Claims

What does Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) mean?

When you file for Social Security Disability, a claims examiner will need to determine your RFC, or what you are still able to do, on a regular and continuing basis, taking into account all of your conditions and limitations.  RFC is not the least an individual can do, despite his or her limitations or restrictions, but the most.


Social Security Administration categorizes work into four different level of exertion:

  • Heavy – You are able to lift up to 100 lbs. at a time, and frequently lift and carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Medium – You are able to lift up to 50 lbs. at a time, and frequently lift and carry up to 25 lbs.
  • Light – You are able to lift up to 20 lbs. occasionally, and frequently lift and carry up to 10 lbs., and stand and/or walk about 6 hours of an 8-hour workday.
  • Sedentary – You are able to lift no more than 10 lbs., occasionally lift and carry files and light tools, sit for about 6 hours of an 8-hour workday, and stand/walk about 2 hours.

The Residual Functional Capacity of an individual will address both exertional and non-exertional functions.  Exertional functions include sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling.  Non-exertional functions include postural (stooping, climbing), manipulative (reaching,  handling), visual (seeing), communicative (hearing, speaking) and mental (understanding and remembering instructions, ability to work in coordination with others, ability to accept criticism and guidance from supervisors).

What evidence will be considered?

Social Security will look at different types of evidence in  your case file to determine what your residual functional capacity should be.  SSA will consider your medical history, laboratory results, effects of treatment, side effects of medication, ability or inability to perform activities of daily living, lay evidence, observations, medical source statements, medical opinions, evidence from attempts to work, work history and effects of symptoms including pain.

Please call our office if you would like to discuss your residual functional capacity.