What is a Functional Capacity Evaluation?
If you’re a patient with a pending application for Social Security disability benefits or the doctor of a patient who needs disability benefits, you should understand a doctor’s role in Social Security Administration (SSA) procedures. To speak with a Columbia disability lawyer about a doctor’s opinion or medical reports in a claim, contact Susan D. Clasbey for more information.
The SSA generally won’t ask a doctor to refer a patient for a functional capacity evaluation. This type of evaluation is short and may only last for a few hours. The SSA needs information regarding the patient’s ability to perform work activities on a regular, ongoing basis. For example, the SSA might want to know whether a patient can hold a job that requires eight hours of work per day, five days a week.
Furthermore, a functional capacity evaluation may lead to an opinion that the patient can perform sedentary work. Full-time sedentary work generally involves sitting for at least six hours in an eight-hour work day, with limited standing or walking, and requires occasional lifting of light objects or items weighing less than ten pounds. A functional capacity evaluation may assign a patient to sedentary work after only a few hours of observation. A more accurate test would only assign a patient to sedentary work after observation of the patient sitting in a work environment for several weeks. If the SSA believes that a patient can do sedentary work, the SSA may have a reason to deny the patient’s application for Social Security disability benefits.
If you’ve received an unfavorable outcome in your case because your doctor referred you for a functional capacity evaluation, you may need help from a Columbia disability lawyer — it may be possible to file an appeal in your claim.
In addition, you should understand that the SSA does not require special training or additional expertise before a treating doctor can evaluate a patient’s ability to perform work activities. The SSA relies on the opinions of doctors as medical professionals who have gained expertise through their work. The SSA welcomes the opinion of a doctor who has observed a patient for a period of time over many months or even many years. In these cases, a doctor’s opinion can provide important insight as to whether the patient should qualify as disabled and receive Social Security disability benefits.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to talk about the specifics of your Social Security disability claim, contact Columbia disability lawyer Susan D. Clasbey, for a free consultation.
Susan D. Clasbey
Columbia Tennessee disability lawyer
1105 South Main Street
Columbia, Tennessee 38401