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What does 'RFC' stand for in New Jersey disability cases?

We've talked a fair amount about the basics of specific conditions that could cause one to be eligible for Social Security disability insurance benefits due to an injury. This blog has touched on lower and upper bodily injuries, as well as potential back problems that could lead to a disability. In this installment, let's look at a somewhat more general concept that still may have quite an impact on how the Social Security Administration might evaluate a New Jersey resident's SSDI application.

In the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 416.945 defines what is known as "Residual Functional Capacity" (RFC.) In layman's terms, RFC is that level of activity that you are capable of performing after the effects of your disabling condition are taken into account. In other words, what, if any, activities can you still perform? Keep in mind, the SSA isn't just going to take your word for what you can still do -- they are going to look at evidence. To do this, they will consider the evidence you present in the form of lab results, doctor's reports and other medical information, and also possibly statements by friends, neighbors and co-workers about your abilities. They may also attempt to get more information from your own physicians, or send you for a consultative examination.

The abilities that the SSA will look at include the physical, mental, sensory or other abilities that you continue to possess despite your disability. They will use this assessment of RFC to determine if you are able to continue your past relevant work. If your RFC is such that it is determined that your past work is not possible, they will attempt to use your RFC to figure out if there is other gainful activity that you could perform with some adjustment. However, this step is not done in isolation, but in conjunction with an analysis of your past training, education and other factors.

There is much more specificity to the regulation with regard to RFC, which we may explore in a subsequent post. But, suffice to say that the determination of whether an individuals SSDI application will be accepted may get somewhat complex. For this reason, those New Jersey residents who are applying for Social Security disability for injuries may wish to consider contacting a disability lawyer.

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