What is a GAF Score and What Does It Have To Do With My Disability?

GAF stands for Global Assessment of Functioning, and it is a rating or score on a scale of one to one hundred.  The GAF rating “is a subjective determination of the physician’s judgment (on a 100-point scale) of the claimant’s overall ability to function on that particular day, excluding physical and environmental impairments.” Long v. Astrue, 2009 WL 5033973, at *1 n.1 (E.D.Pa. Dec. 21, 2009) (Pollak, S.J.)(citing Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV-TR (“DSM-IV”), at 34 (4th ed. 2000). A GAF score of 50 “indicates a serious impairment in social and occupational functioning.”  Escardille v. Barnhart, 2003 WL 21499999, at *2 (June 24, 2003) (Giles, C.J.)(citing DSM-IV at 34).

However,a GAF score is a snapshot in time.  It only reflects how the patient is doing at a particular time on a particular day.  Thus, a claimant’s GAF score at a particular time, while reflecting his or her individual functioning at that time, does not reflect his or her functioning at another time.

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