Our video mentions several ways we help our clients prove disability, one being to establish a correct functional capacity rating. To reach this rating, we start with a functional capacity exam, or evaluation (FCE).
The resulting information enables us to reach an objective rating of your level of physical disability, and whether you can perform the duties of your occupation.
This is a vital part of appealing a disability denial or preparing an initial disability claim.
The FCE serves as a valid and reliable assessment of whether you can work, or return to work. But the evaluation must be performed properly, and is never a stand-alone proof of disability.
How Does a Functional Capacity Rating Help My Disability Case?
Our law firm works closely with our clients in ways that many physicians do not.
Your doctors are concerned about your physiology. They strive to evaluate, repair and treat impairments to your physical structure and mental health.
As disability lawyers, we must identify and relate those medical components to your functional capacity as a disabled person. Our focus is to build your case with objective medical and vocational evidence, and help you prove you are no longer able to work.
How Does a Functional Capacity Exam Work?
The Functional Capacity Evaluation is a series of standardized, physical tests. These measures are especially useful for claimants with musculoskeletal disorders. Testing is generally conducted by a physical or occupational therapist, and takes about 4-5 hours to complete.
The examiner will review your medical records to understand your overall condition. You will be asked to carry out a series of physical and functional tests designed to measure different physical parameters, including:
- strength and stamina
- positional or postural tolerance
- range of motion
- body mechanics
- ability to perform repeated activities;
- work-simulation activities
For example, the examiner will have you lift and carry boxes, walk on a treadmill, sit, stand, and execute assorted postures such as crawling, bending and squatting.
Ultimately, FCE helps determine what is called your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) — the physical level of work you are able to perform as an impaired person.
The Functional Capacity Exam Can Cut Both Ways
Insurance companies may require that you undergo their own FCE. It is common practice for insurers to use Functional Capacity Evaluations to support other maneuvers—such as video surveillance, or claims that you are faking disability—essentially creating evidence to support a claim denial, or to dispute the statements of your treating physician.
We are prepared for these and other tactics taken by insurance companies to delay or deny valid claims.
When used objectively and judiciously, the FCE can demonstrate sound and reliable evidence of disability.
As your disability lawyer, we will take every measure to ensure all medical and vocational evidence is collected. We prepare this evidence in the best way to support your claim of disability to the insurer and/or the court.
This includes medical evaluations and records, physicians’ opinions, functional capacity examinations and other relevant information to prove you are disabled and cannot work.