If you are thinking about applying for Social Security disability because a medical condition limits your ability to work, make sure your medical records say so. Also, be careful about your “activities of daily living.” This is Social Security’s term for things you do routinely in and out of the house. Chores, errands, yard work, the maintenance of your home or apartment, and everything else you do every day, or at least regularly, can disqualify you for disability.
Social Security has denied many disability applications because, despite the fact that they were impaired or in pain, the claimants were able to drive, shop, visit with friends, pick up kids from school, prepare meals, clean their homes, and so on. In the opinion of the Social Security examiner who is reviewing your claim, you may be able to find a job doing at least very light physical work, or work an unskilled desk job such as customer service, data entry, or telemarketing. Also, in Social Security’s opinion, if you can read newspapers or play cards with your neighbors, you must have the ability to concentrate, which would preclude a claim for clinical depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Social Security has denied applications because the claimants haven’t been taking any pain medications; judges have also found claimants not disabled because they have the ability to sit all the way through their Social Security hearings.
Your adjuster may contact you directly to explore your activities of daily living. You may be asked how you take care of your home, or your family, and what you do all day, from the time you get up in the morning to the time you go to bed at night. You may also be asked to fill out an Activities of Daily Living Report, or a Function Report, on which you must describe your ability to stand, sit, walk, lift, carry, stoop, bend, and carry out routine physical activities, either on the job or at home. Your friends, relatives, and neighbors may also be the subject of an “ADL call,” which is designed to uncover evidence that you are still able to hold a job.
Be aware of this before you start your application and keep it in mind while filling out paperwork and meeting with anyone from Social Security.