Once you have applied for Social Security disability and the Social Security Administration (SSA) has determined you meet requirements for one of its disability programs, either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a medical decision must be made to determine if you are disabled.
There are many different pieces of information that Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency that determines whether an SSA applicant is disabled, considers in its determination. Many times an SSDI or SSI applicant will be asked to complete a Function Report to help DDS representatives make a disability determination.
A Function Report is a multi-page questionnaire about an applicant’s activities and how their disabilities impact their daily lives. Although a multi-page questionnaire may seem like a daunting task for someone who is disabled to complete, it is important for an applicant to fill-out this form and return it do DDS by the time prescribed by the disability determination agency. Failure to do so almost certainly will result in a denied disability claim. The refusal to complete the Function Report is interpreted by DDS as a failure to cooperate.
The Function Report examines a variety of topics including how an applicant’s disabilities impact the ability to work, in-depth detail about an applicant’s daily activities and an explanation about how an applicant takes care of basic personal needs like showering, dressing and preparing meals.
Here are some tips to make sure your Function Report has a valuable impact on your disability case:
1) Answer every question.
2) Answer every question completely and don’t limit yourself to the space provided on the form. If you feel you need more space to adequately answer the questions, please include an additional piece of paper to fully respond.
3) Make sure you print the forms. A legible answer to a question will diminish the possibility of having your answers misunderstood.
If an applicant feels too overwhelmed to complete the Function Report on their own, they are free to ask a friend or relative to help complete it, but it is important to understand that DDS is trying to understand the capabilities of the applicant. This includes the applicant’s ability to complete this type of questionnaire. If the applicant has someone else complete the Function Report DDS may not have a full understanding about the applicant’s physical and or mental health limitations. If it is necessary to seek assistance with completing the Function Report, the person helping must also indicate that they assisted the applicant on the form.
If you receive a Function Report while you have a Social Security disability claim pending remember to complete it to the best of your ability and return it to DDS within 10 days of receiving it.