Updated: Jun 5
Nearly all Social Security cases come down to a determination of your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). What things you are capable of doing on a consistent basis. Just because your doctor said you are unable to work, does not mean Social Security just takes their word for it. The analysis that must be done on nearly every case involves a determination of what you are able to do, and then based on your age, education, and work experience, are there jobs out there for you.
The RFC is determined based on the entire medical file. Some claimants have statements of their restrictions from their treating doctors. This makes it much easier to determine what their level of functioning actually is. But the doctor’s statements are not just accepted without question. In order to base an award for disability on a treating physician’s statement, there has to be some type of diagnostic evidence to support the doctor’s limitations.
What happens most often, the doctors put a vague statement that they support your claim for disability or they think you are disabled. What they don’t put in their records are specific limitations or what things you are capable of doing. Without this, the Judge must make such a determination on their own based on all of the evidence. Invariably, they will not be as restrictive as you know your limitations to be. To give yourself the best chance available, you need to have your doctor fill out a detailed statement of what they believe your restrictions should be. A representative can help you ask the right questions of your doctors and give you the best chance of being approved.