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How Does Social Security Evaluate Mental Functional Capacity?

 Posted on September 16, 2022 in Social Security Disability Medical Conditions

Chicago Social Security Disability Assessment Attorney

There are multiple different conditions that can affect a person's ability to work and earn enough money to support themselves and their family. Fortunately, disability benefits are available through Social Security for those who are totally disabled. However, demonstrating that a condition is severe enough to be considered a total disability is not always easy, especially for mental conditions that are not always outwardly obvious. 

One issue that will often play a significant role in these cases is a person's residual functional capacity, or RFC. The RFC is basically a measure of what a person can still do, despite their condition. It is important to note that the RFC does not consider whether or not a person can actually find work; rather, it focuses on whether they would be able to perform work if they were given the opportunity. By understanding the factors considered by Social Security when evaluating a person's mental functional capacity, an applicant for disability benefits can make sure they meet the required criteria.


Evaluations of Mental Capabilities

Assessments of a person's RFC will usually need to be performed by medical or mental health professionals. When evaluating a person's mental functional capacity, the following factors may be considered:

  • Memory and understanding - Can the person remember important details related to their work, including locations in the workplace and procedures they will need to follow? How well can the person understand and remember instructions? Can the person handle detailed instructions, or are they limited to instructions that are short and simple?

  • Concentration and pace of work - Can the person can maintain concentration, persistence, and pace while working? Can they carry out simple or detailed instructions and make decisions when required? Can they maintain focus and pay attention to their work for extended periods of time? Will they be able to follow ordinary routines and perform scheduled activities? Will they require regular rest periods or other issues that may interrupt the consistency of their work? Can they work alongside others without being distracted?

  • Interactions with others - Can the person interact appropriately with members of the public? Are they able to request assistance when necessary, ask appropriate questions, accept instructions, and respond to criticism? Will they be able to get along with coworkers, behave appropriately while in the workplace, and follow basic standards of hygiene and cleanliness?

  • Adaptability - How well can the person respond to changes that may occur in the workplace? Can they travel to unfamiliar locations when necessary? Will they be aware of potential hazards and be able to take the proper precautions to protect the safety of themselves and others? Can they set realistic goals for themselves and make independent plans for completing work assignments?

When evaluating these factors, Social Security will look at whether a person has moderate limitations or significant or marked limitations that will affect their ability to work. The limitations that will apply may affect the types of work a person can perform and their ability to maintain employment either in jobs they have done in the past or other types of work that may be available.

Contact Our Chicago Social Security Disability Assessment Attorney

If you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to make sure you understand the criteria that will be used to evaluate your case. To discuss your specific situation with an experienced Illinois social security disability lawyer, contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC today. We can help you navigate the Social Security disability process successfully, and we will fight to make sure you receive the benefits you need and deserve. Call 312-999-0999 to set up a free consultation.




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