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'RFC' may affect New Jersey SSDI applications for mental illness

We have previously touched on the fact in this space that it may be more difficult for applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to get approval for a psychological disability due to the more subjective nature of diagnosis of many types of mental illness. Without the availability of reliable, objective medical tests, workers at the Social Security Administration, or New Jersey Disability Determination Services may be less able to come to a positive conclusion about a case, especially when the condition does not fit one of the specific definitions contained in the blue book.

One Factor that may come into play in cases such as these is something the agency terms "Residual Functional Capacity." While this may sound like a daunting term, it refers to the ability of the applicant to complete tasks that are "left over" after the person's disability is taken into account. Basically, according to the Code of Federal Regulations, section 416.945, the SSA will try to determine what restrictions one's mental condition places on one's ability to complete job tasks and then figure out what capacity is left that could be applied to work activities.

So, for example, a person who has difficulty following instructions due to inability to understand them, or memory impairment that would cause that individual to forget how to do something even after being instructed, may have a low Residual Functional Capacity to do work he or she has done previously, as well as other work that might be assigned. Another potential psychological condition that may interfere with work is a person's inability to cope with basic pressures in the workplace or to interact appropriately with supervisors, co-workers or customers.

Again, due to the more subjective nature of many of the potential conditions that can arise, there may be many complex factors involved in deciding whether to award mental illness disability benefits. New Jersey residents who have questions about applying for SSDI due to a psychological disability may want to think about consulting an experienced disability attorney.

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