There is nothing more frustrating when representing someone in their Social Security disability claim than hearing that a longstanding medical provider is not willing to address a residual functional capacity questionnaire. These forms are meant to address in a rather organized fashion: 1) the nature of the contact they have had with the patient, 2) the diagnoses, prognoses, symptomatology and objective signs related to the conditions for which they are treating them and 3) the patient’s residual functional capacity (that is, the extent to which they remain limited in terms of undertaking functions necessary for a potential work environment).
The Social Security disability regulations provide that in order to find one disabled from a medically determinable severe impairment, an acceptable source must establish a diagnosis of that medical condition. Once that takes place, it is vital that the treating source address the extent to which one remains impacted in terms of their ability to perform such functions as sitting, standing, walking for a length of time, the extent to which they can lift and carry, bend, stoop, etc.
Likewise, in a case involving mental health impairments, it is just as important that the treating physician (preferably, a psychiatrist and/or psychiatrist) has established a diagnosis/diagnoses. It is then critical that an acceptable medical source (which now can include a physician assistant or a advanced practice registered nurse, who specialize in mental health) set forth the extent to which their patient remains impaired in terms of their ability to undertake such activities as maintaining their attention and concentration, dealing with normal work stress, interacting with the public, coworkers and supervisors, etc. Continue reading