For some disabled individuals, it is not their primary injury or illness that ultimately prevents them from working, but the conditions and complications that arise from the injury or treatment of it. These are known as residual conditions, and they can be equally as devastating as a primary medical condition. Since residual conditions are less readily identified or understood, individuals may be uncertain about whether these types of medical issues qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security attorneys have helped numerous Massachusetts residents who are applying for SSDI based on a wide range of conditions.Residual Conditions and SSDI
The first step for most individuals considering disability is to evaluate whether it is possible to qualify for presumptive disability under one of the Social Security Administration’s impairment listings in its “blue book.” While these listings address specific and widely known diseases and illnesses, many with residual conditions may find that it is hard to find a precise listing under which to qualify. For this reason, many applicants with residual conditions use an alternative means for qualifying for disability, known as a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation.The Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation
An RFC evaluation is a type of examination and analysis done by a disability examiner and a medical professional at Disability Determination Services (DDS) that evaluates an applicant’s medical limitations and their effect on his or her capacity to do any level of work or daily activity. Through a careful evaluation of your medical records, as well as statements you and those you know may provide, DDS and your disability examiner will make a determination about whether your residual condition limits you to sedentary, light, or medium work, or possibly no work at all. Once you have been assigned a functional level, it will then be compared to your prior employment history to determine whether you are capable of returning to your old job. In most instances, the answer will be no because you probably would not be applying for benefits if you could.
The next step is to evaluate whether, in light of your functional level, it is also possible for you to perform other jobs currently available in the national economy. Thus, for instance, if you have been limited to sedentary work, this step will evaluate whether there are any sedentary jobs available for you in the economy. If not, you will be granted disability status and will be entitled to disability benefits.
An RFC evaluation is primarily meant to determine what types of limitations an applicant has experienced as a result of a medical illness such as a residual condition. For this reason, the best way to prepare for an RFC evaluation is to gather as much medical and observational evidence as possible on the nature of your condition and how it affects your daily life. Things such as lab reports, documentation of all of the medication you have tried, doctor’s visits, and results of any functional tests you have completed are all important. Similarly, it can be helpful to provide statements from family members who live with you or close friends, testifying to your inability to perform certain daily tasks, such as how your need to avoid standing limits your ability to cook and clean. These types of statements help evaluators understand the full extent of your condition and how disabling it is.Massachusetts Attorneys Guiding Claimants for Government Benefits
Applying for SSDI benefits on the basis of a residual condition can be complex. Since the RFC process relies so heavily on the documentation provided by the applicant, it is helpful to consult with a qualified attorney, who can evaluate the medical documentation that an applicant has available and recommend necessary additions or important evidence to acquire. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our government benefits lawyers offer advice on RFC evaluations to applicants throughout Massachusetts and beyond. From our Boston offices, we assist individuals in Plymouth, Suffolk, and Middlesex Counties, as well as Rhode Island and New Hampshire. You can contact us at for more information at (800) 367- 0871 or online.