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Social Security Ruling 96-8p is a cornerstone ruling when it comes to the factors that must be considered for a claimant’s residual functional capacity. I reread the Ruling every now and then, and always gain an additional insight.

The Ruling is especially helpful in the area of “full-time work.” Often a person is disabled because they cannot maintain a regular full-time work schedule. For whatever reason – perhaps chronic pain, or severe anxiety or depression – a 40 hour work week is just not possible. Many medical conditions involve “good days” and “bad days.” On a good day, a regular workday might be possible. On a bad day, there is just no way.

Social Security Ruling 96-8p helps with this issue. The Ruling states:

RFC is the individual’s maximum remaining ability to do sustained work activities in an ordinary work setting on a regular and continuing basis, and the RFC assessment must include a discussion of the individual’s abilities on that basis. A “regular and continuing basis” means 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week, or an equivalent work schedule.

I had a recent hearing for a client with a combination of impairments that prevented anything approaching full-time work. It was nice to hear the judge explicitly cite Ruling 96-8p in his bench decision.

Tip: In an appropriate case, be sure to mention Ruling 96-8p and how it applies to your claimant in your prehearing memorandum.