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How Your Daily Activities Affect Your Social Security Disability Case

By R. M. Bottger

When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration  will ask you to fill out a form describing your daily activities. What you put on this form can make a difference between your claim for Social Security disability benefits being allowed or denied. Here is what the Social Security Administration is looking for when it looks at your daily activities.

The first thing that the Daily Activity Form asks is for you to describe a typical day. Then, it will ask you how your daily activities have changed since your condition began. The form will ask you about specific areas of your daily activities. Are you able to handle your own grooming? What housework do you perform? How often do you visit with family and friends? What hobbies do you engage in? Do you belong to any clubs, churches, or other social activities? Do you drive? Do you handle your own finances? In each case, the Social Security Administration will want to know how your current activities compare to your activities before your condition began. This is quite a long, detailed form. Do not rush through it. This is your opportunity to let the Social Security Administration know how your condition affects your life. Do not squander this opportunity.

            When filling out this form, be truthful. It is illegal to lie to the Social Security Administration to try to get benefits. However, do try to concentrate on the things you cannot do and not on the things that you can do.

            The most important thing you can do is to give very specific examples so that the Social Security Administration can understand what you mean. If you have a heart condition, donít just say that you are experiencing weakness and fatigue due to your heart condition. That is too vague. When I was a disability determination specialist, I had a case of a fellow who was experiencing weakness due to his heart. He said he spent his evenings watching television with his cat in his lap. He said that before his heart attack, at the end of the evening, he would pick up his cat and carry her into bed with him. He said that since his heart attack, the cat had to walk to the bed herself because he could no longer carry her. Another heart patient said that her family had to move her bed downstairs because she could no longer walk up one flight of stairs to her bedroom because of shortness of breath and angina. Another heart patient said he could no longer walk twenty-five feet out to his mailbox because of shortness of breath. Please, give as many specific examples of how your condition limits you as you can. Use additional sheets of paper if you need the extra space.

            If you have a mental condition, you also need to give specific examples of how your condition affects you. For example, I once had the case of a severely depressed man who said that whenever his wife had friends and family over to visit, he went into the master bedroom and his under the bed until the visitors left. Statements from other family members and the manís psychiatrist backed this up. His case was an allowance. Do not make a vague statement such as that you are having severe anxiety. Tell how your anxiety affects you. For example, if you canít leave the house without someone else with you because of anxiety, say so. Give as many specific examples as you can.

 

 

  

  


 
 

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