FCE/Work Hardening

A functional capacity evaluation (FCE) evaluates an individual’s capacity to perform work activities related to his or her participation in employment. The FCE process compares the individual’s health status, and body functions and structures to the demands of the job and the work environment. In essence, a FCE’s primary purpose is to evaluate a person’s ability to participate in work, although other instrumental activities of daily living that support work performance may also be evaluated. A well-designed FCE should consist of a battery of standardized assessments that offers results in performance-based measures and demonstrates predictive value about the individual’s return to work.

Who can Benefit from an FCE?

  • Someone who has been injured on the job to determine his or her ability to return to the job or alternate work
  • Someone applying for Social Security Disability benefits
  • Someone seeking to return to work or volunteer activities after an injury or illness
  • Someone injured in a catastrophic accident (i.e., automobile accident) for whom an FCE can determine performance skills and abilities related to resuming former employment or a new job
  • Someone seeking vocational rehabilitation services
  • Students receiving transitional services from school to the work setting to determine their skills and the extent of support required to perform in a job