Residual Functional Capacity Forms: Download an RFC Form

An RFC form completed by your doctor can greatly improve your chances of winning Social Security disability benefits. Download a free RFC form here.

By , Attorney · UC Law San Francisco
Updated by Diana Chaikin, Attorney · Seattle University School of Law

Your residual functional capacity (RFC) is a set of restrictions about what you can and can't do on the job. Having your doctor fill out an RFC form can help you with your Social Security disability claim at both the initial application phase and the appeal hearing level.

The agency values the insight your doctor can provide about job-related limitations you have. If your doctor says you have a lot of limitations, you're more likely to be unable to work.

When Should I Have My Doctor Fill Out a Disability Form?

It is a good idea to have a residual functional capacity form completed by your treating physician at the beginning of your claim for Social Security disability or SSI. It also makes sense to let your doctor know about your disability claim in advance of asking them to complete the RFC form, so they'll be expecting it. Be sure to ask early on in your case, or better yet, as soon as you decide to file.

How Long Will It Take for My Doctor to Fill Out the RFC Form?

Allow your doctor sufficient time to complete the form. The RFC form is rather lengthy, and requires an hour or so to complete thoroughly, so don't expect your doctor to complete it on the spot.

If your doctor agrees to complete the form (some doctors charge a small fee for filling out the RFC form), but doesn't return the document and associated medical records within a week or two, follow up politely to ensure the document hasn't been misplaced or forgotten.

If you're on familiar terms with a nurse or someone else on the doctor's staff, give them a copy as well, and let them know what you are trying to accomplish. This way, if the doctor gets side-tracked or loses the document, there is someone there to help get it done.

Social Security Disability Forms (PDFs) for Doctors to Fill Out

Below, you can find a blank disability RFC form in PDF format for your doctor to fill out. You'll also find examples of completed RFC forms so you can see how your doctor should answer questions on disability forms for common impairments.

You can download a Portable Document File (PDF) version of the RFC form below. Print it out and bring it with you to your next doctor's appointment.

Download the RFC Form as a PDF

RFC Form Sample

What Should a Completed Disability RFC Form Look Like?

If you'd like to see what a helpful completed disability form looks like, you can click on the images below. These example RFC forms are meant to highlight the kind of information that Social Security likes to see from doctors. The forms address some of the most common physical impairments that disability applicants have, such as back disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, and heart diseases.

RFC Form Examples: Degenerative Disc Disease, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Heart Disease

RFC Form Example 1RFC Form Exmaple: Carpal TunnelRFC Form Example Heart Disease

While each individual's RFC will be different, take note of some elements common to all three of the examples above. Note how each doctor refers to evidence in the medical records, and gives specific answers to the questions asked. Your doctor's opinion should be similarly informative.

Keep in mind that RFC forms for mental limitations are a bit different than those for physical restrictions. You can learn more in our article about mental RFC forms. The article contains a blank mental RFC form that you can download and give to your psychologist to complete.

Making Sure Social Security Gets Your RFC

You can have your doctor submit the completed RFC directly to Social Security along with the rest of your medical evidence. Or, your doctor can return the RFC to you and you can submit the form yourself—just make sure you don't alter the form in any way, by changing it or writing on it. The RFC needs to reflect your doctor's opinion, not yours.

You don't need a lawyer in order to get an RFC from your doctor, but a legal representative can make the process easier. Your attorney can help you:

If you're considering getting an attorney to help with your disability case, check out our article on how lawyers handle disability claims for more information.

Updated February 23, 2024

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