If you have applied for disability benefits, you may at some point be asked to undergo a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) by the insurance company.
The purpose of a Functional Capacity Evaluation is to assess your physical abilities through a series of standardized tests. While there are different types of FCEs, they try to objectively evaluate your physical ability to function. The physical therapist who performs the FCE will ask about your medical history, conditions, and occupational background. He or she will also review your medical records.
FCEs test a wide variety of physical abilities, such as:
- Crawling; and
- Grip strength.
During the FCE, the physical therapist will track pain levels to see how the relate to any difficulties in performing the task. Notably, FCEs do not test a person’s ability to work from an emotional or cognitive standpoint. FCEs are performed by a physical therapist. Most FCEs are one day and last several hours, although some are split across two days to evaluate any changes in a person’s tolerances and abilities from one day to the next.
Why Insurance Companies Claim They Need It
Disability insurance companies often use these evaluations to determine a claimant’s physical abilities. This is because the inability to work is a key issue in disability cases. The insurance company will claim an FCE will help it understand your ability to work in any occupation. If the FCE comes back unfavorable, the insurance company will use its results to terminate or deny your claim even if all of your doctors agree you are disabled. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to pay the same facilities or physical therapists over and over again for these tests - especially if the FCE often comes back supporting a denial or termination of benefits.
How to Prepare for a Functional Capacity Evaluation
If you have been asked to undergo an FCE, you probably have both questions and concerns. While there is not much that needs to be done to prepare for an FCE, below are some basic tips on how to make this process less stressful:
- Get a good night’s rest and pack your necessities for the evaluation such as water, assistive devices, medications, and food.
- You may also consider arranging for someone to take you to and from the FCE, as many people are exhausted after testing and do not feel comfortable driving.
- Be sure to wear comfortable clothing and athletic shoes for the evaluation.
- You may want to dress in layers. If you have a prescribed assistive device, take it with you and use it as needed.
- While you will likely get scheduled bathroom and lunch breaks, let the therapist know if your pain or fatigue levels require you to take a break.
- Always give your best effort, as there is validity testing incorporated into the FCE to determine if you are over exaggerating your limitations; and
- Do not suffer silently during the FCE if the pain or fatigue is unbearable but instead let the therapist know.
Attorneys That Specialize in Handling Your Disability Insurance Claims
This law firm was created with a single purpose in mind: to help people get disability benefits from insurance companies. We have had great success helping clients face FCEs when the insurance company has requested them.
With that kind of focus, we have:
Experience with every disability insurance company;
A proven track record of success by winning major long term disability lawsuits;
Recovered millions of dollars in disability benefits for clients like you;
Every day, our disability lawyers work to get insurance companies to approve long-term disability claims or appeal disability benefits denials. With so much at stake, shouldn’t you have expert disability lawyers on your side? Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we do not have to be located in your state to help.