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The Importance of Activities of Daily Living in Your SSD Claim

If you file a claim to receive social security disability benefits (SSD), the Social Security Administration (SSA) will require you to fill out numerous forms.  Much of the information these forms request from you is redundant, and you will likely grow weary of answering the same questions the same way.  There are some questions, however, that you really need to spend time on and pay close attention to, no matter how many times you are asked.

As a general rule, avoid using phrases like, “not very far” or “not very much,” and be very clear about your capacity by using measurements in minutes, hours, miles, feet, or yards.

But easily the most important questions to answer thoroughly are the activities of daily living questions.  These questions matter largely because the people reviewing your claim need to determine how your disability affects your day to day existence and impacts your capacity to perform simple, entry-level work.

If you describe your day-to-day life as robust and full of physical activity, a judge will likely not determine that your disability is so debilitating as to warrant receipt of SSD benefits.

Be prepared to explain why your daily activities are inconsistent with “substantial gainful activity.”  For example, don’t just write, “I make my bed every morning,” when in reality, what you should be saying is, “Although I make my bed every morning, it takes me about two hours to do so because I need to keep resting” if it really takes you that long.  And instead of writing, “I shop for groceries every week,” explain why you can only go at night to avoid crowds and must use a motorized cart.

As always, consider hiring an SSD attorney to help you.  He or she can assist you every step of the way, especially when it comes to filling out the forms that will determine whether you are awarded benefits.