What is Residual Functional Capacity?

Residual functional capacity, also called a functional capacity evaluation, is a formal assessment of your ability to perform specific job tasks. The test reviews your mental and physical limitations in a workplace setting. The test is a part of the application process that is used if the applicant does not meet one of the conditions on the SSDI list of impairments. The residual functional capacity assessment is used to determine whether you can do any type of work. If you can, the assessment test will classify your ability to work into one of the following categories.

  • Sedentary work. These applicants can’t lift more than 10 pounds at a time. Most sedentary jobs such as data entry require that the worker be able to sit for long periods of time with occasional stretching, walking, and standing.
  • Light work. These applicants can lift, on occasion, up to 20 pounds and can frequently carry or lift up to 10 pounds. They can walk and stand for long periods of time and can use their arms and legs to push and pull.
  • These people can frequently manage up to 25 pounds and can occasionally lift up to 50 pounds
  • Heavy work. Here, the standard is the ability to frequently carry or lift up to 50 pounds and sometimes lift up to 100 pounds
  • Very heavy work. These applicants can lift more than 100 pounds and frequently lift or carry 50 pounds.

Other RFC tests the Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates review include a mix of physical and mental tests such as the ability to use your fingers or bend and the ability to remember instructions.

Many of the words used on an RFC exam are very precise. For example:

  • Regular and continuous means eight hours daily, five days a week
  • Frequently means 1/3 to 2/3 of the time
  • Continuously means more than 2/3 of the time
  • Occasionally means less than 1/3 of the time.

The results of the residual functional capacity test will then be used to see if you can do the job you last worked at. If you can do that job, you’re not eligible for SSDI. If you can’t do your prior job, then the Social Security Administration will use a grid system to determine if you’re eligible or not. The grid is a way of looking at a combination of factors including:

  • What type of work you can do
  • Your education level
  • Your current job skills
  • Your age

Older works with limited education who did very heavy work, but can now just do sedentary work, are likely to be approved for SSDI benefits. Workers who previously did just sedentary work who are young and educated are likely to be denied Disability benefits.

At Larry Pitt & Associates, we first work to show you medical condition is on the approved impairment list. Our Philadelphia SSDI lawyers then work to determine that you are getting a proper residual functional capacity evaluation. We explain how the grid process works. To speak with an experienced attorney, please phone us today at 888.PITT.LAW or fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation. We fight for clients in Philadelphian and neighboring counties including Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery.



Larry Pitt

Larry Pitt

If you've been injured, Larry Pitt & Associates can provide you with the legal assistance and representation you need to ensure that justice is served. Get in touch today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Whether it’s a work injury, auto accident, medical malpractice, or any other injury-related matter, we are here to help make sure your rights and interests are respected. We understand the stress and frustration that can accompany an injury, and we are committed to providing thorough legal guidance and support throughout the entire process.