When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are going to be tasked with filling in forms—lots of forms—and some of them may appear intimidating. One form that often causes concern is the Social Security Function Report (also known as the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Report.)
Nash Attorney Dan Rosen says that while the form is important, applicants should see it as an opportunity. “Yes, the ADL Report is a big packet. It is a ten page form divided into five sections,” he says. “The form is important but it should not cause undue stress. My advice is to answer the questions, and see it as your chance to tell SSA things that may not be in your medical records.”
The Adult Function Report is officially known as Function Report SSA-3373 and is usually sent after you have filed your initial application. However, Adult Function Reports may also be requested during the disability appeals process. A report known as a Function Report – Adult -Third Party may also be sent to a family member whom you named on your application. The report looks at how your disabling impairment affects your day-to-day life by asking for details about your activities of daily living, which can include everyday tasks and functions like:
Your answers on the Adult Function Report are part of the equation of assessing how severe your disability is and how that disability affects your ability to work. Detail and accuracy are important in completing the Adult Function Report. Think about it – your ability or inability to perform the tasks in question may not be documented in your medical records, so it is important to explain any problems you have with them. In addition, many of the questions ask what you are able to do. It is useful to qualify your answers. For example, if you can clean, but you need to sit down after five minutes due to pain or fatigue, write that in the report instead of simply a “yes” or “no.”
You have twenty days from the receipt of the Function Report to fill it out and return it, so you shouldn’t delay in completing it, but you shouldn’t rush it either. Dan recommends that when you get the form, read through it completely, and then take a day or two to think about the questions and your answers. Providing as many specific details as you can may make your case stronger. During the application process, Social Security does not physically see you, so this report and your medical records are how they will be able to understand why your impairment prevents you from working.
The Adult Function Report includes space for remarks. Use this space for the in-depth information you want the Social Security Administration to know about how limited you are on a daily basis. You can also add additional pages.
“Keep in mind,” says Mr. Rosen, “that if your case goes to an appeal hearing—and it is likely it will—the Administrative Law Judge hearing your case will use several kinds of evidence – including the answers you give on the form – to determine your functional capabilities. The judge will also be assessing if your testimony lines up with the answers on the form. My best advice on filling out this form is to be honest and consistent. The Adult Function report is just one piece of the complex puzzle that is the Social Security disability process.”
If you are a client of Nash Disability Law, while we can’t fill out the form for you (after all, you know the answers), we are more than happy to guide you through it.
Many disabled workers are turned down on their initial disability application, but most of those who obtain legal representation and appeal their denials are successful in earning disability benefits. For a free evaluation of your case, contact the Chicagoland Social Security Disability Attorneys at Nash Disability Law.