How Social Security Assesses if Your Disability Affects Your Daily Activities

March 29, 2021
Dayes Law Firm

When applying for Social Security Disability, there are multiple factors the Social Security Administration (SSA) will use to decide to approve or deny a claim. This includes evaluating how your condition affects your activities of daily living or ADLs. ADLs are tasks done on a daily basis, such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, getting dressed, etc. If you are unable to do some of these things or can do some in a limited capacity, this could help show the severity of your condition and your eligibility for disability benefits.

Dayes Law Firm is ready to discuss your claim and help gather the medical evidence needed to receive an approval notice. An initial consultation is 100 percent free without any obligation to retain our legal services. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which means no upfront costs to represent you.

Understanding Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

The SSA will ask you to fill out an ADL questionnaire to determine what you can and cannot do during a typical day in order to help make a disability determination. Officially, this form is known as the Function Report (SSA-3373). Some questions you will need to answer about your daily activities and tasks include:

  • What do you do from the time you wake up until you go to bed?
  • Do you take care of anyone else, either a loved one or a pet?
  • Does your medical condition affect your ability to sleep?
  • Do you require assistance bathing, getting dressed or feeding yourself?
  • What are your hobbies and interests? How often do you do them?
  • Do you cook and prepare your own meals? How long does it take?
  • Are there things you used to do that your condition prevents you from doing?
  • What household chores are you able to do?

This form allows you the opportunity to describe how your condition affects your personal needs, household duties, getting around, going shopping and paying bills. Both physical and mental impairments can have a significant impact on a disability applicant’s ability to cope with day-to-day life.

Importance of Completing This Form Properly

When you complete a function report, you need to provide specific details. The SSA, along with the judges who hear disability appeals, use the answers on this form to assess how well an applicant functions and to see if the statements he or she made about his or her condition are consistent.

Consider every change to your daily life because of your condition. If you answer “not much” to any question, you will be doing yourself a disservice. The SSA does not get the chance to see you physically during the claim process, so they must depend on your medical records and function report to understand why you cannot work. It is also important that your answers are accurate and honest. Exaggerating your condition could make you ineligible for disability benefits.

For example, an applicant files for disability due to severe arthritis in both hands. On his or her function report, the applicant stated that he or she can no longer get dressed or prepare meals without help. However, during a hearing before the judge, the applicant testified that he or she was generally capable of taking care of himself or herself. Since the answers were not consistent with what was described on his or her function report, the judge decided that the applicant was not credible and denied the claim.

Improperly completing this form can result in denials, especially if there are inconsistencies or vague answers provided. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Phoenix is prepared to clarify any questions that may sound confusing on the function report. He or she can also review what you have written to determine if there is anything that may harm your claim.

Is a New Form Required If My Condition Worsens?

Be sure to keep your function report up to date. It is not uncommon for ADLs to change over time as certain physical and mental impairments may progressively get worse. If your condition has changed considerably and you have more difficulty performing your daily activities, a new form can be filed.  

Dayes Law Firm is Here to Help

The chances of having a disability claim approved increases significantly with legal representation. At Dayes Law Firm, we understand how to effectively answer the questions on the function report and are ready to help determine which ADLs to include on your form. Read some reviews from satisfied clients.

The initial consultation is free and requires no obligation on your part. We charge no upfront fees to take or work on a case and only get paid if we help obtain benefits on your behalf.

Talk to a lawyer today. Ph: 1-800-503-2000