Showering, brushing your teeth, house cleaning, shopping, and other activities of daily life are all examples of activities of daily living. The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to know if your disease causes you pain or makes it difficult for you to do any daily activities.
What is an ADL Form?
"Activities of daily living," or ADLs, are a term used to describe these basic daily activities. This form is one of the many required by the Social Security Administration to be fulfilled. It must be completed by every claimant who files a benefit application. The questions initially appear to be simple. After all, the inquiries are about your daily activities. Many people, on the other hand, have difficulty filling out the form. Each detail you fill out in your ADL may contribute to qualify you for SSDI or end up being the reason for your benefits being rejected.
How does the SSA view Activities of Daily Living?
As part of an adult disability report (ADR), an adult function report (AFR), or a continuing disability review report (CDR), you may be asked about your everyday activities. Take advantage of the opportunity to tell Social Security about your difficulties performing ADLs on these forms. Tell Social Security about each activity that is restricted, how restricted it is, and how the restriction is caused by your medical condition. Also, tell your doctor/disability examiner about your challenges with daily activities so that they become part of your medical record and your claims of trouble with ADLs can be verified. Some examples of mentioning ADL may include:
- - Personal Mobility: You can use this section to describe difficulties in your daily activities. For instance, if you are unable to walk, describe the inability to walk more than two blocks due to leg pain, back pain, or lack of balance. Next, describe the symptom or problem that specifically limits you—such as weakness or paralysis, numbness, pain, poor balance, dizziness, or lack of coordination.
- - Household Maintenance: You might have trouble standing or using your hands to do simple household tasks if you have a physical disorder—for example, if the pain in your hands is so severe that you can't turn a wrench or hold a paintbrush, or if your loss of coordination prevents you from hitting a nail to do repairs around the house. You could be unable to vacuum due to a lack of oxygen. Whatever the restriction is, be precise and explain why it exists. "I can rake leaves slowly for 30 minutes before becoming fatigued and needing to rest for the same amount of time,". No matter what your disruption in activity, you must write it clearly.
- - Personal Needs and Grooming: Depending on your condition/impairment, this section can tell a lot about disruptions in your daily functioning. If you have a stroke, you may be unable to button your shirt with one hand. Inability to button a shirt or pick up coins tells Social Security that you have difficulty with fine movements of your fingers. Don't underestimate the importance of these everyday activities that many people take for granted.
- A claimant with a serious mental condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, may require assistance with even basic personal needs like toileting.
- - Social Contacts: Social skills are crucial in deciding the type of work you can accomplish, particularly when assessing the severity of a mental illness. The fact that you haven't done any of these things doesn't mean you can't. A shift in which social activities previously of interest to you are no longer of appeal to you, as well as what symptoms you have that prevent you from socializing, is particularly illuminating to Social Security. For example, Social Security will want to know if you used to enjoy going to church but no longer do because of melancholy, paranoia, PTSD, anxiety, or a dread of leaving home—but it doesn't matter if you've never been to church.
- Social interactions do not have to be restricted only because of mental illnesses. Advanced liver disease, muscle weakness, or discomfort, for example, can limit your desire and capacity to socialise.
How Would Your Disability Examiner Look at Your ADL Form?
After you submit the ADL questionnaire, it will be reviewed by a disability examiner. If your disability examiner discovers that you are unable to conduct many basic daily living activities, he or she may decide that you are unable to undertake work-related activities as well. However, before making a decision, the examiner may seek extra verification of some of the information on the daily activities questionnaire.
To confirm any information regarding how you handle an ADL, the examiner may call a third party (someone you specify on your disability application). Social Security Administration anticipates that a third party who has regular contact with you will be able to provide a "unbiased" assessment of your disability and how it has affected or changed your daily routine.
For more information, you can seek legal advice from our expert disability attorneys at Law Office of Irene Ruzin.