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How Is Mental Residual Functional Capacity Measured in SSD Cases?

 Posted on March 16, 2023 in Social Security Disability

Plano Social Security Disability Attorneys

Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a daunting task, especially for those who are dealing with mental health conditions. During the application process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will follow a five-step procedure to determine whether an applicant is currently working, whether they have a disabling condition that prevents them from working full-time, and whether they have the capacity to work in jobs they have held in the past or other jobs that are available. During this process, the person's residual functional capacity (RFC) will be determined, which will provide an idea of what types of activities they can perform. For those who have mental health conditions that have led them to apply for disability benefits, understanding how mental RFC is measured can be crucial.

What Is Mental RFC?

Mental RFC is the SSA’s way of determining the extent to which a mental impairment affects a person's ability to work. RFC describes the extent of work a person can perform under the limitations placed on them by a health condition. In cases involving mental health conditions, the SSA will look at several factors to get an idea of whether a person can perform work-related activities on a regular and sustained basis.

How Does The SSA Assess Mental RFC?

RFC is determined by reviewing multiple types of evidence, including medical records from doctors or specialists a person has seen in the past. In some cases, Social Security may have a person evaluated by medical or psychological consultants, and it provides a form used to evaluate different issues related to mental RFC. This can give an idea of what the SSA is looking for and what issues may demonstrate that a person has a mental disability that has prevented them from maintaining gainful employment.

Social Security's evaluation of mental RFC will address the following issues:

  • Memory and ability to understand issues in the workplace - An evaluation will look at whether a person can remember the procedures followed when working or locations in the workplace. It will also consider whether they understand both short, simple instructions and more detailed instructions.

  • Concentration and sustained work - An evaluation will look at whether a person can maintain concentration on work and carry out both simple and detailed instructions. It will also look at their ability to be punctual and work a regular schedule, maintain regular routines, work alongside other people without being too distracted to complete tasks, and make simple decisions while working.

  • Interactions with others - An evaluation will consider how well a person is able to interact with the general public and get along with coworkers. It will review a person's ability to listen to instructions, request assistance from others when necessary, behave appropriately, and follow the proper standards for cleanliness.

  • Adapting to different settings - An evaluation will measure how well a person can respond to changes in workplace settings or travel to new locations. It will also consider how well a person can follow workplace safety standards, set realistic goals for themselves, and act independently without the need for instructions or interactions with others.

In addition to medical records and examining reports, Social Security may consider other information that may help determine the types of work a person can perform. This may include job performance records or statements from family members who have witnessed how a person's condition affects them on a daily basis. All this information is used to assess an individual's capacity for work, as well as how their condition may affect their daily activities outside of work hours.

Contact Our Plano Social Security Disability Attorneys for Mental Conditions

Mental residual functional capacity is an important factor in determining eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. It is important for applicants seeking disability benefits based on mental health conditions to understand what RFC entails and how it will affect their claim.  By gathering all relevant documentation before filing a claim, applicants can increase their chances of being approved for disability benefits in a timely manner. ​At The Law Offices of Coats & Todd, our Collin County Social Security disability lawyers can assist with applications, and we can ensure that the necessary evidence is provided. Our goal is to help people with disabilities receive the benefits they need. Contact us at 972-671-9922 for a free case evaluation.




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