The Social Security Administration sends out numerous forms and paperwork for you to complete once you file an application for disability insurance benefits or supplemental security income. One of these forms is a Function Report for Adults and there is one for Children. These forms can have an everlasting effect on your disability claim and are not to be completed lightly.
Essentially, this is your testimony at the initial and reconsideration levels of your claim. Even at the hearing level, many judges look at what you noted as your abilities and inability to do on these initial and reconsideration forms when deciding to approve or deny your benefits. At the hearing level, you have the added benefit of verbal testimony to the Administrative Law Judge regarding your daily activities. However, at the initial stages and reconsideration stages, the case workers will not call you and say, “Tell me Mr. Johnson, how does your disabilities affect your ability to function?” Instead, they send you an Adult Function Report to complete that has detailed questions regarding your daily activities, your ability to handle daily functions, such as bathing and dressing yourself. The questions also cover any issues you have with getting along with others, paying bills on time, problems with lifting, standing, walking, going to the store, and handling your household from a mental and physical standpoint.
You need to take time and put thought into what you are actually capable of doing. Many times, I review these forms and people will say that they cut their grass or go to church, but when I ask them the last time they performed those activities, it was before they applied for disability or was over a year ago. That is not an accurate depiction of what you can and cannot do on a routine basis. Social Security is not asking what you did before you became disabled, except one question where it asks what has changed since you became disabled. They want to know what you can do now that you are alleging disability! Also, it is important to be realistic and not guess what your abilities may be. Some people note that they think they can lift 25-30 lbs. but have not actually tried or when given examples of what actually constitutes 25 lbs like a 24-30 case of bottle waters from Walmart, they say “oh absolutely not!”
Here, at Gardberg and Kemmerly, we understand that this whole process is both nerve-racking and complicated. Let us assist with these small details. We review these forms that come into our office and discuss with our clients their abilities and disabilities. You are the only one that can complete these forms and know what your daily activities are, but it is also important to understand that you must be honest with yourself and evaluate what you actually can and cannot do which is not always easy. If you receive a function report from Social Security and have a claim pending, please call our office at 251-343-1111 for a free consultation. Gardberg & Kemmerly specializes in helping the injured and disabled in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana.