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    Beth Alpert & Associates

    53 W. Jackson
    Chicago, IL 60604-3607
    312-427-2611 phone
    312-427-2644 fax

    Weight Loss

    Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Weight Loss

    What Is RFC?

    When your Weight Loss 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 Weight Loss

    There is no straightforward way to assess RFC under this listing. It would be erroneous to assume that the claimant’s weight per given height is the key to determining RFC. Certainly, a claimant who otherwise satisfies the listing but is only a few pounds over the applicable weight tables should reasonably receive no higher than a sedentary RFC. A well-nourished claimant with minimal physical abnormalities and symptoms can be given a RFC for heavy work, or coded “not severe” (slight). The most problematic cases involve light and medium work RFC assessments, which may make the difference between allowance and denial on a medical-vocational basis.

    Tables used in the past showing “normal” weights for various heights of adult men and women are of limited value. Such tables were based on life insurance company data involving the mortality probability of a financially select part of the population that could purchase such insurance, or were arbitrary in some other way, and therefore are no longer considered authoritative. Most modern medical texts do not even refer to such tables. In fact, “normal” and “abnormal” weights are meaningless words, unless the purpose of available data is specified. The most meaningful use of weight measurements has been to assess the risk of heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and overall mortality. The following table should be used only as one general factor in determining RFC.

    TABLE 5.08.2 – 1: WEIGHT FOR HEIGHT TABLE BY AGE

    Height (Ft-In)

     Weight Range (lb) for Men and Women by Age

     

    25 yr

    35 yr

    45 yr

    55 yr

    65 yr

    4-10

    84-111

    92-119

    99-127

    107-135

    115-142

    4-11

    87-115

    95-123

    103-131

    111-139

    119-147

    5-0

    90-119

    98-127

    106-135

    114-143

    123-152

    5-1

    93-123

    101-131

    110-140

    118-148

    127-157

    5-2

    96-127

    105-136

    113-144

    122-153

    131-163

    5-3

    99-131

    108-140

    117-149

    126-158

    135-168

    5-4

    102-135

    112-145

    121-154

    130-163

    140-173

    5-5

    106-140

    115-149

    125-159

    134-168

    144-179

    5-6

    109-144

    119-154

    129-164

     138-174

    148-184

    5-7

    112-148

    122-159

    133-169

     143-179

    153-190

    5-8

    116-153

    126-163

    137-174

     147-184

    158-196

    5-9

    119-157

    130-168

    141-179

     151-190

    162-201

    5-10

    122-162

    134-173

    145-184

     156-195

    167-207

    5-11

    126-167

    137-178

    149-190

     160-201

    172-213

    6-0

    129-171

    141-183

    153-195

    165-207

    177-219

    6-1

    133-176

    145-188

    157-200

    169-213

    182-225

    6-2

    137-181

    149-194

    162-206

    174-219

    187-232

    6-3

    141-186

    153-199

    166-212

    179-225

    192-238

    6-4

    144-191

    157-205

    171-218

    184-231

    197-244

    Values in this table are for height without shoes and weight without clothes. To convert inches to centimeters, multiply by 2.54; to convert pounds to kilograms, multiply by 0.455.

    There is no classification for various degrees of being underweight that might be correlated with various exertional capacities. There is no physiological research on weight and exertional capacity in “normal” individuals. Even if there were, the information would have limited application to individuals with medical disorders. It is important to obtain as much information as possible medically and diligently record the nature and degree of restrictions to your daily activities that are imposed by the illness. Associated impairments with the weight loss are very important; a claimant with scleroderma may have numerous other problems besides weight loss.

    It should be remembered that weight loss may be only one manifestation of digestive system disease; other factors like anemia and depression may require separate evaluation.

    Continue to Getting Your Doctor’s Medical Opinion About What You Can Still Do.

    Go back to About Weight Loss and Disability.