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A Residual Functional Capacity Form (RFC) is part of the Disability Determination examiner’s report that approves or denies your claim. It assesses your functional capacity to work after accounting for your mental or physical disability.

The DDS examiner will ask a DDS physician or psychiatrist to complete the form. The physician will review your medical evidence and records, and rate your residual functional capacity based on how your condition affects your ability to work. For a medical case, the form will include how long you can sit, stand, walk, etc. For a mental claim, the form will explain how well you could handle a work environment with poor memory, rational thinking problems, etc.

Although your medical records keep a log of your symptoms and describe your pain, they are not written in a way that can show your ability to work or your prognosis for returning to work. In addition to the one the DDS physician will complete, you can ask your own treating physician(s) to complete an RFC form. After all, your own doctor knows you better than the DDS examiner, and can be more specific about your condition, treatment and prognosis.

If you choose to ask your doctor to complete an RFC form, do it early in the application process. Let your doctor know that you intend to apply for disability, and that you would like him or her to complete the form. The RFC form is long, so don’t expect your doctor to quickly fill it out and hand it back to you. If your doctor has not returned the form within a few weeks, politely follow up to see if it has been finished.

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