In almost every case, Social Security (SSA) will ask you to complete a Function Report—Adult (SSA Form 3373). The form is designed to gauge the severity of your condition by how it limits your activities of daily living. For this reason the form is sometimes called an ADL Report. This questionnaire asks how your condition limits your activities in a typical day and it asks about your ability to perform activities such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting and so forth. The tips provided here offer you a general strategy for completing the Function Report. There are no stock answers, but the advice here should help you to better communicate the nature and severity of your condition. Please see the article titled “How To Complete The Function Report.” If after reading this, you still have questions, please contact on our Social Security Attorneys.
Some claimants think that the disability attorney is the best person to complete the Function Report. This is not the case. You don’t need to be eloquent and you don’t need any special writing skills to complete the Function Report. This is your opportunity to come across as honest and genuine, with all of your flaws showing, spelling errors and poor handwriting included. But if your handwriting is so bad it can hardly be read, try getting a friend to help you out. If part of your disability involves your hands and your inability to finger and manipulate objects, you may not be able to complete the form yourself anyway and this should be noted on the form by whoever completes it for you.
How do your illnesses, injuries, or conditions limit your ability to work?
In answering some questions, less is more. But when you answer this question, be sure to provide plenty of details. If you are under 50 (and maybe even if you are over 50), you need to remember that it is not just your last job that you must show you can’t do, but ANY job. No matter what your age, provide details about your inability to perform job functions such as lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, fingering, handling, sitting, walking, etc. Describe difficulties you have with memory and concentration, how pain affects your ability to function and what you are like on “bad” days.
Question 6, what do I do all day?
The best approach is to answer question 6 after you’ve answered all the other questions on the Function Report–Adult. The questionnaire asks a lot of specific questions. If you describe something in answer to a specific question, you don’t need to repeat it when answering question 6. If you spend time in bed or in a recliner, be specific and list that you are in bed or a recliner and for what length of time.
If you do things for only a few minutes at a time and then rest, be sure to explain that. Be careful how you word things so as to avoid giving the wrong impression. Some disabled people have been known to honestly put down that housework takes them “all day” when what they mean is that it takes them a long time to do a few simple chores that used to take them a few minutes. But instead they give the impression that you are working all day.
A description of how you organize your life around your disability can win your case. Be sure to write down the special accommodations that you make for yourself, such as needing to lay down after an hour of sitting in a recliner, laying down flat on a board to relieve pain, avoiding certain social situations, only showering occasionally, etc.
Beware of underestimating or overestimating your capacity. If you can lift 30 pounds, one time but then spend the next two days in bed, do you have the capacity to lift 30 pounds? No, you don’t. Lifting 30 pounds is overdoing it. You need to keep this in mind when you estimate how much you can lift, how far you can walk, how long you can sit, etc. For example, you may state “If I sit longer than 30 minutes, without walking around, I may end up in bed for several hours.” When estimating your sitting, estimate for sitting in a work chair, not a recliner. How long can you sit in a work chair in a normal work situation before you need to get up? Standing tolerance should be estimated based on standing in a slow moving line.
- ·Be sure to give the most honest answers you can. Your best asset is your credibility. If the adjudicator does not believe you, you will be denied your benefits.
- ·List only the side effects you are actually having from medications, not the possible ones listed by the drug manufacturers. Be sure to discuss side affects from your medications with your doctor.
- ·Everything you have been asked in the Function Report is good to go over with your doctor on your regular visits. You don’t need to go over every single thing each visit, but be sure to report to your doctor your troubles with your daily activities EVERY time you have an appointment.
- ·Before you send your completed Function Report–Adult to SSA, make a copy for yourself.
If you have questions about specific conditions and how you should complete your Function Report, contact the Social Security Attorneys in our office today.
Originally posted 2014-01-30 23:22:25.