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Step 4:
Functional Ability 
Past Work

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Factory Worker

Residual Functional Capacity

  • The Fourth Step.  The Social Security Administration will determine what your “Residual Functional Capacity” and if you could still perform your past work or not. If the SSA determines that you can in fact do your past relevant work, then they will find you not disabled.

  • SSA’s definition of Residual Functional Capacity is ​

“...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 the most you can still do despite your limitations.”

  • If you have multiple impairments that are affecting your ability to work, SSA is not only looking at one of your impairments alone when determining your Residual Functional Capacity. They look at all your impairments together and determine your abilities based on there combined affect.

  • In determining your Residual Functional Capacity, the SSA will look at your medical records, medical source statements from your doctors, and any Independent Medical Source Statements, and any other pertinent evidence in the file.

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Past Relevant Work

  • After the SSA determines your Residual Functional Capacity, the next step is to determine if based on that if you can perform your past relevant work. Your past relevant work is any work in the past 15-years that you have done that was Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The court will often use the services of Vocational Experts to determine what those jobs are and how they are defined in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. If the court finds that you can perform your past work, you will be found not disabled. If they find that you cannot do your past work, then they will move onto step 5 of the process.

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