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How does memory impairment relate to functional capacity?


People in Houston who are familiar with this blog probably know that when a person suffers from a mental or physical problem that limits their ability to work, they may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. But how does the Social Security Administration assess whether a person can work and earn a living?

Under the Code of Federal Regulations, one of the factors that the SSA evaluates when determining whether an applicant is eligible for benefits is the applicant's "residual functional capacity." A person's residual functional capacity is a measure of the maximum work that a person can do, mentally and physically, despite their disability.

The SSA considers a variety of evidence when determining an applicant's RFC. This evidence includes the person's medical history and examination results, as well as the applicant's own statements about their limitations.

When a person or their representative is applying for a mental disability claim, one of the factors that the SSA looks at is the person's memory impairment and how that affects their RFC. For example, if the applicant cannot remember instructions long enough to carry them out, that can greatly limit the person's ability to work. Thus, a mental illness that causes memory impairment can be the basis of a qualifying condition for disability benefits.

If a person suffers from an injury or illness that affects their mental abilities, their RFC may not be sufficient to allow that person to work regularly or on a continuous schedule. Under such circumstances, the person or their family should understand their options for filing for disability benefits. Furthermore, an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help Houston area residents through all phases of the benefits process.

Source: Social Security, "Residual Functional Capacity," Accessed on Dec. 15, 2015

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