When you apply for Social Security Disability you are asked to fill out a Function Report. You can find a copy here (SSA-3373)
Social Security attorneys and medical professionals refer to this as an ADL questionnaire (Activities of Daily Living). This is one of the most important parts of your application, and sadly, many people do not spend the time to fill it out properly. Here are some more tips to assist you in filling out your SSA-3373 form. To see part one, go here. We have listed the numbered questions that people frequently have questions about below:
Question # 7: Be very specific here; if you provide care for someone else, do not assume the reader understands what that means. Specifically state what you do, and more importantly, what you cannot do for that person. For example, if you care for a grandchild, indicate how many hours in a day you are responsible for the child, how old the child is and whether or not you have help providing care.
Question #10: This is a very important question. Spend time here explaining things you enjoy but can no longer do because of your disability, and be specific as to why you can no longer do them. Most people enjoy other activities much more than their job. When you can’t do things you love to do, this speaks volumes about how you can not complete tasks at work that you don’t like doing. Don’t overlook this question. Answer it completely and honestly.
Question #15: Driving a car requires you to pay attention to your surroundings, make decisions quickly and correctly and use your hands and feet to operate the controls. You also need good vision. If you drive, answer this question honestly, but be very specific. Do you only drive short distances? Do you only drive to places that you are familiar with and have been to many times already? Do you only drive on “back roads” avoiding highways and major streets and intersections? Do you only drive when there is no traffic? Do you only drive at daytime when the weather is good?
Question #17: Money! Many people answer this part of the form “less than honestly” because they are afraid Social Security will judge them as “not worthy” of benefits if they have trouble handling their money. Some people are also concerned that if they don’t check all the “yes” boxes and do receive benefits, those benefits will be controlled by someone else. If you do not answer honestly, but elsewhere in your application you claim to have difficulty remembering to do things, concentrating or staying focused on tasks, this could be considered inconsistent with your ability to remember to pay bills, manage a savings account and balance a checkbook. An inconsistent answer in your report will affect the credibility of your claim and this is not a good thing.
Question #18: This is essentially the same question you were asked in question 10. Social Security intentionally asks similar questions to test the integrity of your answers. Your answers to question 10 should be honest and complete, and they should be consistent with your answers to question 18.
Question #22: Make sure you take the time to list all of the medications that you take or were taking during your disability. If you have side effects from your medications, be sure to list them. The form will not give you enough space to answer this question properly; you must use a separate piece of paper to answer this question well. Bonus Tip: Go to your pharmacy and ask for a print out of all your prescriptions so you won’t miss anything. Super Tip: If you experience side effects from your medication that could prevent you from working (i.e. drowsiness, dizziness, jitters, shakes, insomnia, fatigue, etc.), make sure you tell your doctor, and make sure he or she writes it down in your records. Often these types of side effects are “normal” or “common” and your doctor may not consider them important. Many times, we see medical records where a simple box is checked “no side effects” because the doctor did not feel the reported side effects were abnormal; this inaccurate medical record can negatively affect your claim.
There is an old lawyer joke: “free advice is worth what you paid for it.” Well, here is some that is worth its weight in gold. If you are applying for Social Security Disability, you will have to see a medical or physiological professional on a regular basis in order to document your claim. Your doctor or therapist should be made aware that you are pursuing a disability claim, you will need their help. If they “don’t want to get involved,” find a different doctor if you can—you will probably get better care as well.
Pride can be your enemy if you become disabled, don’t let it be. If you can’t afford regular medical care, you must seek out free or reduced price care. It’s out there. Call us at 800-LAW3030 and we will be happy to help you find it. Se habla español.
You can go here for help finding affordable medical care.
For more information on how we can assist you, contact our SSD attorneys.