What to Expect at Your Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)
A functional capacity evaluation is an objective way to provide information about your disability to your insurance provider or physician. It may help you with your disability benefits claim because the evaluation measures your physical abilities and limitations.
The FCE is not appropriate for visual or hearing injuries or cognitive issues. It's a series of tests that measure your range of motion, motor skills, balance, muscle weakness, difficulty maneuvering, and pain levels.
What Happens During the Evaluation?
A medical professional, such as an occupational therapist or a physician specializing in rehabilitation or occupational therapy will conduct your evaluation. There will be a series of tests to measure your physical strength, fatigue, if you can sit, stand, lift, carry, etc. For some tests, the evaluator will use a machine or tools as you perform the series of motions. The evaluator will want you to perform using maximum effort, but that does not mean exerting yourself to the point of injury.
Will the Evaluator Be Familiar With My Case?
If you are being represented by a disability attorney, the evaluator should have received the necessary information about your work background, the diagnosis of your disability, the treatments you received, and when you became disabled.
What Is the Evaluator Looking For?
They will observe how well you can perform the movements, check for signs of pain, and will record the results. The evaluator may ask you questions about your symptoms, abilities, diagnosis etc. Your answers will help them get a complete picture of your disability.
How Long Does the Evaluation Take?
The length of the functional capacity evaluation varies depending on the individual, but generally, you should plan an entire day. Your tests may be completed in one day or may take two days.
There is a benefit of having a two-day test because the evaluator can observe how you react the following day after working at your maximum effort. They will be able to observe how long you can sustain your performance and how long it takes you to recover, as well as whether or not you can work on consecutive days.
What If I Can't Do a Test?
If you're unable to perform any of the functional capacity evaluation tests, inform the evaluator as soon as possible to avoid injury. Never try to force yourself to perform any activity that may harm your health or safety. If necessary, the evaluator will skip the test and make a note about your inability to perform the test. If you don't complete a test, it won't negatively impact the report or your evaluation.
Please note: If you are recovering from surgery or are working with a rehabilitative therapist, you may not be able to take the test. Check with your physician.
What If the Tests Make Me Feel Worse?
Since you are working at your maximum capacity, you may feel tired or your symptoms may worsen. Immediately tell the evaluator how you feel. They will determine the cause of your discomfort and may have you skip this test as a result. Do not force yourself to move beyond your body's maximum capacity. You will be allowed to take a break for meals or to use the bathroom. Also, let the evaluator know whenever you need to leave the room.
What Do I Need to Know About the Day of the Evaluation?
Since you will be performing a series of tests that measure physical ability, dress comfortably and wear clothes that allow you to move freely.
It's recommended that you arrange for someone to drive you home. You may be tired, sore, or your symptoms may worsen after the test. Before you leave the evaluation, you can ask the evaluator what you can do to treat or lessen any pain or other side effects from the tests.
Can My Long-Term Disability Lawyer Help With My Functional Capacity Evaluation?
Absolutely. Here are 5 ways your attorney can help:
- Your attorney can determine if a functional capacity evaluation is right for your case.
- She will recommend which tests you should take that will provide a complete picture of your disability and limitations.
- Your attorney will provide the evaluator with background information about you and your case.
- She will review your functional capacity evaluation and check for consistency and correctness.
- Lastly, your attorney will interpret your report and decide if it is helpful to your case.
Learn More About the Functional Capability Evaluation
A functional capacity evaluation is an objective way to demonstrate the level of your disability and help the claims adjuster determine your eligibility for benefits. To learn more about what to expect and how it could affect your long-term disability claim, contact CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC today.