The Social Security Administration, when evaluating a claimant's mental or physical health conditions, will examine a Social Security Disability claimant's symptoms and mental and physical limitations more than the claimant's diagnosed condition. The Social Security Administration does this because they are more concerned with whether or not the claimant can return to a past job or be retrained for another type of work, and they can not make this determination without determining the mental and physical residual functional capacity of a Social Security Disability claimant. Disability claims can be won by "meeting a listing" or matching a listing on the Social Security Administration's List of Impairments, but most disability claimants will win Social Security disability benefits if the Social Security Administration concludes they do not have enough residual functional capacity to work at a "substantial" level.
Assessment of RFC or residual functional capacity is done with a Residual Functional Capacity form. The RFC form is generally completed by the Consultative Examiner who has completed a Consultative Examination for the claimant (at the request of the Disability Examiner). Residual Functional Capacity forms can however, be completed by the treating physician at the request of the Social Security Disability claimant or the claimant's Social Security Disability lawyer. The Social Security Administration may require either a residual functional capacity assessment or a mental functional residual assessment depending on the claimant's health condition. Physical Residual Functional Capacity forms will describe a claimant's ability to complete physical tasks such as: sitting, standing, stooping, bending and lifting. Mental Residual Functional Capacity forms will focus on a disability claimant's ability to concentrate, focus, follow simple and complicated instructions, complete a standard workday and get along with coworkers and supervisors.