A GAF score or Global Assessment of Functioning is a physician’s judgment of a patient’s overall level of psychological functioning. It is generally used in treatment planning where a person’s functioning is measured and then hopefully the outcome of treatment can be predicted.
By Federal regulation, Social Security has declined to use the GAF scale on the basis that it doesn’t have a correlation to the severity requirements in the mental disorders listings of impairments.
At the same time, most psychological evaluators include the GAF score. Obviously if a person’s GAF is under 50, and indicative that a person would be unable to keep a job, it’s likely to be used as an argument in a claim for disability. A better way to circumvent the problem is to obtain a list of functional limitations form the evaluator or the treating source that support the GAF score thereby creating a more specific picture of a claimant’s difficulty functioning. Likewise, looking at several GAF scores over a period of time may serve to highlight a continuity of the claimant’s difficulties such that substantial gainful activity could not be maintained even though potential work might be available in spite of certain impairments.
Do you know your GAF score? Will it help your case for disability? For answers, contact us at gallonlaw.com.