DI 24515.062 Your Residual Functional Capacity
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20 CFR 404.1545, 416.945
A. General. Your impairment(s), and any related symptoms, such as pain, may cause physical and mental limitations that affect what you can do in a work setting. Your residual functional capacity is what you can still do despite your limitations. If you have more than one impairment, we will consider all of your impairment(s) of which we are aware. We will consider your ability to meet certain demands of jobs, such as physical demands, mental demands, sensory requirements, and other functions, as described in paragraphs B., C., and D., of this section. Residual functional capacity is an assessment based upon all of the relevant evidence. It may include descriptions (even your own) of limitations that go beyond the symptoms, such as pain, that are important in the diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. Observations by your treating or examining physicians or psychologists, your family, neighbors, friends, or other persons, of your limitations, in addition to those observations usually made during formal medical examinations, may also be used. These descriptions and observations, when used, must be considered along with your medical records to enable us to decide to what extent your impairment(s) keeps you from performing particular work activities. This assessment of your remaining capacity for work is not a decision on whether you are disabled, but is used as the basis for determining the particular types of work you may be able to do despite your impairment(s). Then, using the guidelines in DI 25025.001, your vocational background is considered along with your residual functional capacity in arriving at a disability determination or decision. In deciding whether your disability continues or ends, the residual functional capacity assessment may also be used to determine whether any medical improvement you have experienced is related to your ability to work as discussed in DI 28005.000.
B. Physical abilities. When we assess your physical abilities, we first assess the nature and extent of your physical limitations and then determine your residual functional capacity for work activity on a regular and continuing basis. A limited ability to perform certain physical demands of work activity, such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, or other physical functions (including manipulative or postural functions, such as reaching, handling, stooping or crouching), may reduce your ability to do past work and other work.
C. Mental abilities. When we assess your mental abilities, we first assess the nature and extent of your mental limitations and restrictions and then determine your residual functional capacity for work activity on a regular and continuing basis. A limited ability to carry out certain mental activities, such as limitations in understanding, remembering, and carrying out instructions, and in responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and work pressures in a work setting, may reduce your ability to do past work and other work.
D. Other abilities affected by impairment(s). Some medically determinable impairment(s), such as skin impairment(s), epilepsy, impairment(s) of vision, hearing or other senses, and impairment(s) which impose environmental restrictions, may cause limitations and restrictions which affect other work-related abilities. If you have this type of impairment(s), we consider any resulting limitations and restrictions which may reduce your ability to do past work and other work in deciding your residual functional capacity.
E. Total limiting effects. When you have a severe impairment(s), but your symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings do not meet or equal those of a listed impairment in the Listing of Impairments (DI 34000.000), we will consider the limiting effects of all your impairment(s), even those that are not severe, in determining your residual functional capacity. Pain or other symptoms may cause a limitation of function beyond that which can be determined on the basis of the anatomical, physiological or psychological abnormalities considered alone; e.g., someone with a low back disorder may be fully capable of the physical demands consistent with those of sustained medium work activity, but another person with the same disorder, because of pain, may not be capable of more than the physical demands consistent with those of light work activity on a sustained basis. In assessing the total limiting effects of your impairment(s) and any related symptoms, we will consider all of the medical and nonmedical evidence, including the information described in DI 24501.021.