ADL Disability | Activities of Daily Living Disability
- Medical records (Your Doctor’s point of view)
- Employment (Your Employer’s point of view)
- Activities of Daily Living (Your own point of view)
These three factors combined give Social Security a good picture of what your life is like, and whether you are truly disabled—or at least, in theory.
Social Security may send you a form called “Activities of Daily Living” that has questions regarding everything you do in a typical day. This is your opportunity to describe what you have difficulty with and how your disability affects you. If your daily activities coincide with what your doctor has described in your medical records, it can be a powerful document.
However, many questions on this form are cunningly disguised to determine whether you can work. Even watching TV all day shows that you can sit for long periods of time and, therefore, could sit at a desk. Grocery shopping can be stressful for those with certain types of mental or physical disabilities—if your severe anxiety is no issue at the grocery store but you state an inability to work with people in a more quiet office setting, there may be a discrepancy in your claim. Even carrying groceries in from the car shows that you can lift and carry a moderate amount of weight (a gallon of milk weighs about 8 lbs).
At the hearing level, your daily activities will be very important. The judge will make a decision largely based on what you can and cannot do each day. If your disability does not allow you to travel to work, but you can travel easily to a hearing 30 minutes away from your home, the judge will notice.
Such sensitive issues and questions should be answered carefully and honestly. Be sure you are open about your limitations. If it was painful to make the drive, say so. If you have to stand up every fifteen minutes because your back hurts while watching TV, say so. Be clear and open about your daily activities.