Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaires Can Help Secure Benefits for Pennsylvania Individuals Seeking Social Security
Requesting a residual functional capacity questionnaire can be an important aspect of a successful claim for Social Security benefits. Pennsylvania Social Security claimants must ensure that their treating physician appreciates the seriousness of their medical conditions. Significantly, a treating physician must understand that these medical problems affect their ability to function.
Treating providers should be willing to express to the Social Security Administration (SSA) the severity and the nature of medical conditions. By describing the extent to which an individual is affected by their medical condition, it will be clear how the condition affects an ability to function at work.
Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) is defined as the most that an individual is capable of performing, despite their physical and mental limitations. Determining a Social Security claimant’s RFC helps the SSA assess the persistence and severity of symptoms. This determination comes after it has been established that an individual has been suffering from a medically determinable impairment.
For claims that have been filed after March 2017, the SSA has made clear that opinions provided by a treating source, such as a primary care physician, will be evaluated along with non-treating sources. The same factors will be applied to these opinions. Medical sources that may provide information have been expanded to include licensed physician assistants and licensed advanced practice nurses.
The determinative issue for a successful claim for Social Security benefits often rests on the severity of the condition and whether the individual’s physical or mental residual functional capacity has been affected. In many situations, a Social Security Disability attorney will request reports from treating physicians because they help establish the extent of limitations on performing work-related tasks.
When determining how much weight, or significance, to give a report completed by a treating physician, there are several factors that may be considered by the state agency or the administrative law judge assessing a claim for disability benefits. Supportability is one factor, which means that the medical treatment records and testing should support findings that are made. Consistency is another factor and refers to the fact that the treating physician’s opinions should be consistent with other medical opinions or findings. Reports will also be assessed in terms of the relationship between the claimant and the physician, including the length of their treatment relationship and the purpose of such a relationship (a long-term disabled patient would receive a different assessment from a one-time visit).
It is important for all Social Security claimants to provide supportive documentation from their medical providers because this information details the nature and severity of disabling conditions. The Social Security Disability lawyers at Needle Law understand the regulations that help support successful claims for benefits. Throughout Pennsylvania, we help individuals with their Social Security Disability claims. For a free consultation, call our office at (570) 344-1266.