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Sometimes there is a physical residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment in the disability claim file from a single decisionmaker. That means the RFC assessment from DDS was not completed by a doctor. At the hearing level, a single decisionmaker RFC should be located with the "A" exhibits in the disability claim file, rather than with the medical evidence in the "F" exhibits. A single decisionmaker RFC must be given no evidentiary weight by the judge at the hearing level.

This topic was the subject of a memorandum from former Chief Administrative Law Judge Frank Cristaudo, dated May 19, 2010. However, that memorandum has been revised by a September 14, 2010 memorandum by Associate Chief Administrative Law Judge John P. Costello. Here is a copy: Download Revised SDM memo. Thanks to New York disability attorney Jeff Delott for emailing the revised memorandum to me.

An Administrative Law Judge may not rely on a single decisionmaker RFC to support an unfavorable decision at the hearing level. For "prototype" states without Reconsideration, that single decisionmaker RFC is probably the only physical RFC in the file. So to have it off limits is quite beneficial for the claimant.

Be sure to check whether or not the DDS RFC is from a single decisionmaker. You do that by checking the signature line on the RFC form.