Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)


Definition - What does Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) mean?

Residual functional capacity (RFC) is, quite simply, what you can do in spite of any physical or mental limitation. This is used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when determining the result of a person's disability claim. It can also be part of determining what accommodations a worker needs in order to return to work after an injury. Physical limitations and abilities, such as ability to stand/sit for long periods/lift/and flexibility, are all considered in determining the RFC. Mental limitations are often considered separately and not necessarily assessed unless a claimant specifically files for disability due to a mental limitation.

WorkplaceTesting explains Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)

A residual functional capacity (RFC) rating takes several professionals to complete. After a claim is filed with the Social Security Administration (SSA), there is a process of gathering data and then verifying it. There will be an assigned medical consultant who will compile and coordinate data from the person applying for disability and all medical professionals involved.

A RFC will often involve examinations by doctors other than your usual doctors, a review of your work history (up to 15 years), and a review of your current medical records. This process can be a long one as multiple appointments may be necissary and it can take time to collect all of the data required.

Some possible ratings of physical work ability include: sedentary (lift less than 10 pounds and mostly sitting work), light (lift up to 20 pounds and walk frequently), medium (lift up to 50 pounds with frequent smaller weights moved), heavy (lift up to 100 pounds with frequent movement of smaller weights), and very heavy work (lift over 100 pounds and frequently move anything lighter).

Share this:

Connect with us

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of employment testing and employee wellness professionals.