Functional Capacity Evaluations

The Social Security Administration determines eligibility for disability benefits based upon a series of factors known as a five-step sequential evaluation. This evaluation takes into account the patient’s ability to continue working despite his or her impairment or whether the impairment is so severe that the patient could not possibly continue with his or her previous employment under the disability. One test utilized by the Administration involves a patient’s ability to sustain work five days per week on a full-time basis. If the patient is still able to function in a full-time work environment despite his or her impairment, disability benefits will not be awarded. A Spartanburg Social Security disability attorney can assist claimants in preparation for their application for benefits, especially when those claimants are under a severe impairment making it difficult to follow the application process.

A functional capacity evaluation is sometimes performed on a disability claimant, although the Social Security Administration never directly asks claimants to participate in this process. The Administration believes that a functionality evaluation lasting a mere few hours cannot possibly reveal with reasonable certainty whether the claimant is able to sustain long-term, full-time work. Likely a more reliable test would be whether the patient could sustain work over a few weeks based upon an evaluation and observation — a procedure that would be arduous and impossible for the Administration to implement.

The Administration will also rely upon the opinion of the treating physician as to whether the patient’s disability precludes him or her from working in a full-time position, even in sedentary work. The physician need not be specially certified in making such determinations and the Administration will take the doctor’s opinion as a factor, though not a conclusive one, in determining eligibility. The Administration will consider a long-term treating physician as more reliable than one who just recently made an acquaintance with the patient.

If you would like to speak with a Spartanburg Social Security disability attorney, be sure to give the offices of Grace Knie a call today. We would love to discuss your case with you.