What is a Functional Capacity Examination (FCE)?
An Overview

Most policies now allow for insurance companies to request claimants undergo various examinations. One example is the Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE.

What is an FCE?

FCEs are usually conducted by a occupational or physical therapist. They generally last between 4-6 hours.  However, they can be spread out over multiple days.

You will have to complete intake paperwork.  The examiner may monitor you to see how long it takes for you to complete the paperwork.  Including whether it is difficult or painful for you to sit.

Once the FCE formally begins, it tests the following:

  • Your ability to lift, push, pull, and carry objects;
  • Your ability to reach, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; and
  • Your ability to handle and manipulate small objects.

These tests evaluate your dexterity, coordination, and endurance. Further, they evaluate job-specific functions. The examiner should also be evaluating your pain levels during each test.

Once complete, the report will go to your insurance company. Then, your insurance company will evaluate it to determine if you are physically unable to perform duties of your occupation. A properly done FCE can help your claim. However, your insurance company may use them to try and deny your claim.

What Can I Do?

You can take certain steps to ensure the FCE doesn’t negatively impact your claim:

  • Request a copy of the report;
  • Be clear and precise about any pain you feel;
  • Do not exaggerate;
  • Document any pain or other symptoms you experience after testing is over; and
  • Follow-up with your own doctor about symptoms during and after the exam

An experienced disability insurance attorney can help you determine:

  • What type of evaluation was performed;
  • The methodology and criteria used; and
  • It’s accuracy in measuring your abilities.

Finally, if you have or are scheduled to have an FCE and have questions, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys directly.


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