One of the most important forms you will complete in your Social Security Disability Application is the Function Report. You will actually see this type of report more than once. When you initially apply, Social Security will send you SSA Form 3373 (the “Function Report-Adult”). The Function Report is intended to determine what abilities you have and focuses on you daily activities. One of our Social Security Attorneys Boise Idaho can help you to complete the form in a way that accurately reflects your physical and mental capacities.
Important: When it comes to describing your limitations, be as detailed as necessary to illustrate the severity of your condition. Otherwise, less is more when completing the Function Report. Use your worst days as a reference, but be sure to indicate that your answer is based on a worst day. We find that the Function Report is cited most often to deny claims and medical records are what will get your claim approved. Your goal in completing the Function Report is to give Social Security an accurate sense of what you CAN NOT do (not what you can do) in a way that fosters your credibility.
There are several things to keep in mind when complete the Function Report that will help you to complete it in a way that is most beneficial to your case. Below are few of those things:
Be completely honest. Many times we understate our problems and difficulties because nobody likes a whiner. When you are competing the Function Report is not a time to be stoic. Tell things as they really are.
Don’t overstate your limitations. Some people have the tendency to overstate their symptoms. Be careful to avoid exaggerations. Your credibility critical to your success. If the adjudicator thinks he can’t fully trust you, he will discount your claim.
Hobbies. Don’t list hobbies and activities that you once did but no longer participate in. If you no longer participate in a hobby or activity because of your limitations and want to use this to illustrate the severity of your condition, make sure that you are very clear as to what your limitations are and put this in response to Question 10 and not Question 18.
If you need more space to illustrate how your life has changed because of your disability, use the comments section at the end. Give specific symptoms and limitations that prevent you from doing things you loved to do once or how your mental and physical symptoms have caused issues in your social life, personality, important relationships, etc.
House Work and Yard Work. Only list the things that you do NOW. Don’t list anything that you did even a few months ago, but no longer do. If you are no longer doing housework or yard work, simply indicate how your limitations prevent you from doing work of any kind. If you are able to do some chores, don’t feel you need to make a complete list of every little thing you do. The best way to respond to these types of questions is to pick one light chore that you do and list all of the difficulty you have with doing that chore.
For example, you may do dishes. Don’t simply list “I do dishes.” Indicate that you do dishes and then indicate all of the limitations that you have. For example: “I do dishes when my symptoms are not too severe. When I can do dishes, I can only stand for 10 minutes and then I have to rest. My husband has to take care of any large pots and pans. I can load the dishes in the top of the dishwasher, but I can’t bend over to load the bottom.” In the above example you would refer directly to the condition, such as back pain, that is causing your limitations.
Important Details to Provide. When you are describing your symptoms and limitations, provide information as to the frequency, intensity and duration of your symptoms. You can also provide information on how much you can lift, how long you can sit, how long you can stand, how often you have to lay down, elevate your feet, etc. If you have bad days, be sure to describe what your symptoms are like on these days and how many bad days you have in a month.
Good days, bad days and your credibility. Most people applying for disability don’t have constant symptoms. They have good days and bad days. This can lead to conflicts between your answers on the Function Report and other evidence in your file that can lead Social Security to discount your credibility. If you don’t indicate to Social Security that your answer to a particular question is based on your bad days, Social Security will compare your answer to other evidence in the file that does not seem to indicate your condition is as severe as you describe and begin to question your credibility.
For example, on a good day you went shopping or for a drive and mention this in passing to your doctor who then puts something in the records like “Feeling better, enjoying shopping”. But in your Function Report you indicate that you can’t do any shopping because you were thinking about your bad days when you have to stay in bed. So be sure that you use the phrases “On bad days…..” and indicate how often you have bad days. You can indicate in response to any question that on your bad days you can’t do anything, but on your good days your can perform certain limited functions.
For example, in response to question 12, you could indicate that on bad days you do not bathe or shower and your spouse has to help you put your shoes on and button your clothing. Or on Question 13 you can indicate that on bad days you can not prepare a meal and your roommate will help you out, but on good days you are able to prepare a sandwich or soup.
Your mental capacity. Mental limitations are particularly difficult to establish. Your credibility is your best asset here. If your disability is largely due to cognitive limitations such as concentration, remembering, etc, you will want to provide as many anecdotes as you can that demonstrate your limitations. For example, “I have to have my brother help me each month with bills because I make too many mistakes with inverting numbers on the checks,” or “I find that I have to re-read something several times before I can get the meaning,” or “my wife has taken over my medications because I can’t remember what I have taken, and I can’t even remember to write it down.”
The Function Report can be a trap for the unwary. Be sure to speak with one of our Social Security Attorneys In Boise Idaho before you complete your form for detailed advice with respect to your specific disability.
Originally posted 2014-01-03 18:58:00.