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Activities of Daily Living and Your Adult Function Report

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When you apply for disability, it is important to present an accurate picture of your physical abilities and the manner in which they’ve been curtailed by your injuries. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will ask you questions about how your disability affects your day-to-day life in order to determine whether or not you are truly unable to work to earn a living.

Included in both the initial application process for Social Security Disability as well as in subsequent reviews of your eligibility for continued benefits is the completion of what is known as an adult disability report, adult function report, or continuing disability review report. These surveys will ask you to describe your ability (or inability) to complete what are known as “activities of daily living,” or ADLs. ADLs include things like:

  • Driving your car
  • Scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming, or otherwise cleaning your home
  • Cooking your own meals
  • Running errands, such as going to the grocery store or pumping your own gas
  • Completing personal grooming tasks, such as bathing, combing your hair, or putting on makeup
  • Seeing friends
  • Participating in hobbies you once enjoyed

Your ability to complete these tasks will give the SSA a baseline understanding of the extent of your physical limitations.

Here are some important pointers on completing these questionnaires:

Be specific in your answers. For example, if you are capable of performing a task such as washing your hair, but it takes you a very long time to do so and involves physical pain, be sure to include these details, so that you do not give the impression that you’re able to care for yourself as you normally would. If the questionnaire asks you to describe a typical day, be concise in your answer, but avoid vague or conclusory statements such as “I can’t do anything.”

Completing the Adult Function Report is not the time to put on a brave face. It is critical that you accurately describe the manner in which you’re limited. The SSA has no other way to understand the extent of your incapacity other than your own description, so you need to paint an accurate picture of your condition.

In a similar vein, try not to let embarrassment you may feel cause you to overstate your abilities. You might feel ashamed of your inability to care for your home, and not feel eager to tell the government about how you can no longer do your dishes or clean your bathroom. However, if you hide the truth about your limitations, you could hurt your chances of getting the support you truly need to improve your situation.

If you are a New York resident and need assistance in filing an application for disability, or in appealing a denial of benefits, contact the experienced and effective Highland disability and Workers’ Compensation attorney Peter M. Cordovano for a consultation, at 845-691-4200.

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