Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Leukemia
If your leukemia is not severe enough to meet or equal a listing at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process, the Social Security Administration will need to determine your residual functional capacity (RFC) to decide whether you are disabled at Step 4 and Step 5 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. RFC is a claimant’s ability to perform work-related activities. In other words, it is what you can still do despite your limitations. The lower your RFC, the less the Social Security Administration believes you can do.
An RFC for physical impairments is expressed in terms of whether the Social Security Administration believes you can do heavy, medium, light, or sedentary work in spite of your impairments. An RFC for mental impairments is expressed in terms of whether Social Security Administration believes a claimant can do skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled work in spite of impairments, or whether the claimant cannot even do unskilled work.
You should not be assigned an RFC simply on the basis of remission from leukemia. Although remission may result in no significant limitations, the Social Security Administration should not assume that you have no significant limitations just because your leukemia is in remission.
Conditions that may affect your ability to function on the job and that the Social Security Administration should evaluate, even if you are in remission, include:
- Anemia and its contribution to weakness and fatigue.
- Organ toxicity, such as to the lungs, nervous system, and heart, from chemotherapy.
- Tissue damage from leukemic infiltrates or infection, which could have long-term consequences.
- Radiation to local leukemic infiltrates, which can also permanently damage tissue.