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Beth Alpert & Associates

53 W. Jackson
Chicago, IL 60604-3607
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Lung Cancer

Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Lung Cancer

What Is RFC?

When your lung cancer 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. An RFC for physical impairments is expressed in terms of whether the Social Security Administration believes you can do heavymediumlight, or sedentary work in spite of your impairments. The lower your RFC, the less the Social Security Administration believes you can do.

Assessing Impairment Caused by Lung Cancer

Most claimants with lung cancer have a history of cigarette smoking and therefore have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If there has been surgical intervention, removal of a part of a lung (lobectomy) or even a whole lung (pneumonectomy) was probably done. Also, radiation therapy for lung cancer can cause fibrotic damage to lung tissue. Surgical resection (lobectomy or pneumonectomy), and radiation will produce a restrictive lung deficit. This issue of lung disease and therapeutic damage is a consideration that the SSA adjudicator may overlook by focusing on the cancer and its treatment. Various complications must be approached on an individual basis. Cardiac drug toxicity, for example, could cause heart failure or affect kidney function, and so on.

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