Applying for Social Security Disability? Don’t Neglect Your Function Report! Here Are 5 Tips to Help You!
April 1, 2022 | Social Security Disability
Applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) might seem like an intimidating process. You want to ensure that all of the correct paperwork is filled out and filed. Incorrect filing can delay the process and can potentially result in claim denial.
If you are denied SSDI at the application stage, it does not mean the end of the journey. You can apply again or you can appeal the denial. A denial because paperwork is not filled out correctly is something that you can avoid.
One major component of your SSDI application is the Function Report. A Function Report helps DDS get information about how your illness and condition affect your ability to function and perform everyday tasks. It illustrates why you are disabled and can no longer work.
When filling out your application, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. Here are five tips to help you:
- List Every Single Claim That Contributes to Your Disability
When reviewing your SSDI application, the Social Security Office takes a holistic view of your physical and mental state. For this reason, you must list everything that contributes to your disability. Every impairment, whether severe or not severe, must be looked at.
Many people have one or two impairments that they know to list. The conditions that brought you to this application are thought of first. These are generally the most severe issues. Even conditions that may seem more common, such as high blood pressure, should be listed.
Be sure to include both physical and mental health issues, if applicable. If your most severe impairment is physical, but you also have mental health issues, list them both. Whether the impairment is old or new, be sure to list it. Old impairments can be exacerbated in the presence of new ones. You want to give a complete view of what it is like for you to function daily. This can only get done if you remember to include everything, whether severe or not.
- Get Your Doctors in Order
To get SSDI, you must be receiving treatment for your impairments. Social Security will look over your medical records to determine whether or not you are disabled.
When you are filling out your application, be sure to have the information for all of your treating doctors. Social Security will generally look back 1-2 years from your onset date. You will need to list the doctors that you go to for treatment. If you have former doctors that treated you, you should list them as well. This is especially the case if you are no longer in treatment because you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is noted in your record. Oftentimes, patients stop going to the doctor after reaching maximum medical improvement. These records are still needed, however.
Communicate with your doctors as well that you are applying for SSDI. Medical records are crucial for your application. Social Security will request them. An attorney can request them as well if you hire one. You can also collect them yourself if it is easy. Either way, notify your doctor’s offices that you are going through this process. This way, records can be collected faster and not delay the process.
- Be Responsive
Once you fill out an application, Social Security might send you more forms. They may need more medical information or employment history. Be sure to fill out those forms in as timely a manner as possible. Don’t miss any deadlines.
If you have a social security disability attorney, they will work with you to complete everything. Be sure to be responsive to them as well. Return any calls and keep an open line of communication.
Social Security will also set an appointment with you to see their doctors. Be sure to make and keep those appointments to the best of your ability.
- Be Honest
Honesty is necessary throughout this entire process. When you are filling out your Function Report, be transparent about how your impairments affect you. This applies when you see their doctors as well. Do not put on a brave face or make things sound better than they are. If you are in pain, tell them. If it is hard for you to complete daily tasks, make sure you write that information down. Then, make sure you tell the doctor.
When you go in for your appointment to see their doctors, bring any assistive devices you use. Giving Social Security a window into your life may seem invasive. However, it will help you get disability benefits.
If you are feeling uncomfortable, feel free to discuss things with your attorney if you hire one. They can put you at ease through the process. Knowing what to expect can be half the battle.
On the other side of this spectrum, do not exaggerate. Being dishonest will harm your credibility. Social Security may have people observe you during your appointment with them. If you run into the office but claim you have physical impairments and can’t walk, they will find out. If you don’t seem credible, it will be very difficult to get benefits.
- Be Thorough
The Function Report does not give you much space to tell your story. Do not view that as a limitation. Being thorough in your application is important. Your Function Report is the first thing that the adjudicator will read. When you apply for SSDI, you are not there to give details in person. Everything is in writing.
Give as much detail as you can about how your impairments affect you. If you have good days and bad days, explain what that means. Explain how often bad days happen. Explain what your worst days are like. Use descriptive language to describe your pain. If you have someone who helps around the house, explain that. The inability to do daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry is important to mention. Being unable to get out of bed or lift a gallon of milk are important things to mention as well.
If you are taking medication and there are side effects, that is also important to illustrate. Even if the medication is helping one impairment but causing other issues, it needs to be noted. Leave no stone unturned.
Consider Hiring an Attorney
The application for Social Security Disability may seem tedious, but it is doable. Be sure to remember these steps to avoid any delays. The initial application decision generally takes between 75 – 180 days to receive. If you are applying for SSD, consider hiring an attorney to help as an experienced social security disability attorney can make the process much simpler and more effective.
Contact an Award-Winning Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Lawyer For Help
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in Harrisburg or elsewhere in the state of Pennsylvania, contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates. Our award-winning Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyers can help you understand your rights and fight to secure the financial award you may deserve. Please contact us at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610