What Does the Social Security Administration Really Want to Know About What You Can and Can’t Do at Home?

What Does the Social Security Administration Really Want to Know About What You Can and Can’t Do at Home?

Do you need help with the government’s complex rules about getting disability benefits for yourself or a loved one?  

How do you know when you are you entitled to SSDI, SSI, or other forms of government assistance?

When a disabling injury or illness strikes, a strong advocate can be the difference between being getting the benefits you deserve, and the sinking feeling of despair in having your application denied.

It’s comforting knowing you have an experienced attorney on your side to begin working on your case; or even your appeal if your previous applications have already been denied. Transparency is your ally when discussing ADL’s and life without limitations.

When you apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—the SSA wants to know more than just what job activities you can no longer perform. Some claimants are surprised to discover that they have to answer questions about their ability to engage in everyday activities unrelated to a job.

The Social Security Disability attorneys at our offices in Marietta, GA want you to understand how answering these questions in a transparent manner can make or break your disability claim. 

What are ADLs?

ADLs are “activities of daily living” that people normally perform in a given day.

You will need to fill out a questionnaire called an Adult Function Report which asks about your medical or psychological condition and how it affects your everyday activities. You’ll be asked about your ADLs at your hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, as well, so you need to be prepared.

Social Security wants to know how your disability affects your capacity to do what you need to do to get through a typical day.

Here are the types of things you will need to answer. 

Can you:

  • Drive a car or other vehicle?
  • Keep up with housework and laundry?
  • Go grocery shopping?
  • Cook meals?
  • Do yard work and household repairs?
  • Dress yourself without help?
  • Take care of your own personal hygiene (bathing, grooming, going to the bathroom)?
  • Care for your family members and pets?
  • Spend time on hobbies or with friends?
  • Travel/go on vacation?

Why Does SSA Want to Know About My ADLs?

Remember that the SSA doesn’t care about prying into your personality. They want to know whether the condition that makes you unable to work prevents you from doing other things you used to do.

Presenting an honest picture of your condition through ADLs is a very important part of the Social Security Disability process. It’s imperative to be honest with yourself about these questions so that the SSA and the Administrative Law Judge get the full picture about your condition.

It may be embarrassing to admit that you have trouble getting dressed, for example, because you can’t lean over, or that you can’t go to the store because being out in public gives you panic attacks. But if you sugarcoat your abilities out of embarrassment, it will be much more difficult for you to win your case, even with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.

Important Points to Remember

  • While some people’s health stays relatively the same, some conditions change from day to day. If you only have the strength to cook a meal once or twice a week, it may be technically true to tell the judge, “Yes, I can cook meals” but it will give the judge the wrong impression. Be sure to be specific. 
  • If engaging in some activities is costly to you, pain-wise—for instance, you can vacuum the living room, but then have to lie down for an hour—make that “cost” clear.
  • It’s a good idea to obtain “third party reports” from former bosses, co-workers, friends and family members who are familiar with what you are, and are not, capable of doing. Someone you used to work with can relate that you had trouble lifting or standing on the job. A family member who has to do your shopping for you or take care of yard work because you can’t do it could relay that information. Make sure that anyone you list to be contacted as a third party really does understand your condition so they can corroborate what you say. 

The majority of disability claims are denied by the SSA. You need an experienced advocate on your side. 

Contact our Marietta, GA office today to speak with a knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer about your disability claim.