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+  Social Security Disability Facts Forum
|-+  SSDI and SSI Disability Application Process
| |-+  Initial Filing Questions
| | |-+  Need to know to fill out function report
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Topic: Need to know to fill out function report  (Read 14092 times)
newyorkcita
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« on: April 13, 2010, 01:18:08 PM »

I applied for disability a without any medical records about my condition, so they sent me to their doctor. It's been exactly four weeks since then and now I just received some forms in the mail that they want me to fill out and send back. These forms have detailed questions about my daily activities. The first question just ask me to describe what I do from the time I wake up until going to bed. I'm not sure how to answer this. I'm afraid that my answers may make them think I really don't need disability. Any advice from someone who has had to fill this out is appreciated Smiley

Thanks
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SSDAdmin
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2010, 03:53:51 PM »

Hello and welcome to the forum,

       I know this can be a very daunting process and I hope you feel free to ask whatever questions you might have and hopefully we can help you.  I am not sure what your disability or age is so I can't give you alot of specifics, but I can give you an idea of what Social Security looks for when approving or denying an application.
     
     This is a specific example used on the social security website which I will link to at the bottom of this post.

For example, a person with the following vocational profile would be found disabled according to our tables of medical-vocational guidelines:

Capacity for work:

•Can lift no more than 20 pounds for up to 1/3 of an 8-hour workday, and
•Can lift up to 10 pounds for 2/3 of an 8-hour workday, and
•Can stand and/or walk for about 6 or more hours in an 8-hour workday and
•Has no other limitations
Age: 57

Education: High school education

Work Experience: No skills that can be transferred to work he is physically able to do.

However, if this individual had skills that could be used for work that is within his capacity and that exists in significant numbers in the national economy, we would find him not disabled.


The last paragraph mentions other work which is important and a step in their process.  If this person above had other training or education that would not require them to do the things their disability limits they would not be found disabled. 

The other issue is your age, if you are over 55 they figure your chance of adjusting to other work is limited and if you are under 50 that you can easily adjust.  So, two people with the same disability at different ages would be judged differently and one could be approved while the other might not be. 

Ultimately if you look at the example above they look at what you can lift and for how long, how long you can sit, stand, and how many breaks you need.  When you fill out your paperwork you need to also realize that your medical reports need to match what you are saying. 

You simply need to let them know what your limitations are.  Think about it in terms of an 8 hour work day.  What would happen if you sat for 8 hours, stood for long periods of time.  How would it effect you.

This is really your chance to let them know how your disability effects your daily life and why you cannot work.   You need to be as specific as possible. 
Marci

http://www.ssa.gov/disability/step4and5.htm#Q4_2
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I speak from experience not expertise.
Name: Marci
Location: Florida
Age at Application: 35
Disability: Arthritis, Degenerative Disc, Migraines, Foot Injury
Date Applied: September 2005
First Approval/Denial Date: Denied February 2006
Reconsideration Approval/Denial Date: Denied October 2006
Date Hearing Notice Received: October 2008 two weeks before hearing
Hearing Date: October 2008
ALJ Approval/Denial Date: Letter Received December 2008
Date Award Letter Received: January 2009
Date Back Pay Received: February 2009
Additional Info: Approved at hearing, no Attorney
SSDIHelp
Guest
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2010, 07:33:00 PM »

The Adult Function Report is a very important document as the Administrator stated you need to be as detailed as possible.   It's going to take time to respond thoroughly to each question.  Frequently there is not enough space to write a complete answer so write on a separate piece of paper "attachment to question X"
There are three characteristics to keep in mind when describing you symptoms or limitations; duration (how long something lasts), frequency (how often does it occur) and severity (how bad is it).  
I would also consider getting your medical records and submitting them to the SSA,  Claims examiners are way too busy to followup.  The code clearly states it's the claimant's responsibility to provide medical evidence regardless of what it says on the front of the application.
Make sure your doctor completes and RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) form. Good luck
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« Last Edit: April 13, 2010, 07:38:49 PM by SSDAdmin »
knowsalittle
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 04:47:48 PM »

If I read your post correctly, there no treatment records for the disability analyst to request and the only medical record s/he will have is the one time visit to the doctor SSA paid to evaluate you.  There are exceptions, but as a general rule, if the medical condition has not been severe enough to require treatment, it is not severe enough to meet the SSA definition of disability.  See http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm

It does not matter what you put on the function form if you do not have a medically diagnosed condition that is expected to result in death, or severely restricts your ability to perform work related functions AND the degree of restriction is so severe that you cannot perform ANY type of work – not just your past work, not just what you would like to do, not what pays a lot of money, but any type of work that is performed in the national economy. 

The doctor will probably, but not necessarily, provide a diagnosis but will not provide answers to points  SSDIHelp brings up regarding duration, frequency, and severity.  The first question you should ask yourself is, do I have a medically diagnosed condition that is expected to result in death?  If yes, which of the impairment listed in http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm does it meet?  If your medical condition does not meet any of the listed impairments, do you have a medically diagnosed condition that severely restricts the ability to perform work functions?  Has that restriction of function limit lasted, or will it last, 12 months or more?  If yes, approach each question on the daily activity form from the prospective of: do I have a medically diagnosed condition that restricts ability to perform this particular function?  If yes, give detailed information about how the medically diagnosed condition restricts function in this area (degree/severity, duration, frequency).  If no, be brief in your response and move to the next question. 

From this information, and the one time medical examination, the disability analyst will use SSA rules and determine if, based on your age, education, and past work experience, your overall condition will prevent your performing your past work or ANY other work in the national economy. 

If you are under 50, the response will most likely be that you can perform some type of work.  Even if you have never hear of, or considered being, a chicken sexer, or a silverware wrapper, SSA rules will indicate you have the ability to perform such work.  See http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-ap11.htm

SSA is not going to suggest you need treatment, or provide treatment advice or sources.  If you have a condition so severe that it prevents work activities, however, you may want to seek treatment from a personal physician, E.R., or free clinic. 
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newyorkcita
Guest
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 06:01:00 AM »

Thank you all for your advice. I guess I should perhaps explain my situation a little more. I'm in my early 30s and I have Epilepsy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I have had Epilepsy since I was a baby, but I was taken off my anti-convulsants when I was in my early teens. My seizures were thought to be under control. Years later, I got married and moved out of state. After I got married, I saw doctors for symptoms of Chronic Fatigue which I was diagnosed with when I was a teenager. None of these doctors gave a second thought to my seizure history. The same was true with seeing doctors during pregnancy.
2008 is the last time I worked and during that time I was experiencing what I believed were seizures. As I looked back over my sketchy work history (could never hold a job more than 3 months or so) and my constant confusion, I started to think that perhaps my seizures had changed and that they weren't under control. I didn't see a doctor because I didn't want to have to take the meds while I was pregnant. After I had the baby, I had no money and no medicaid. Fast forward to now, I have medicaid. When I applied for Disability, I thought it would be a really long process and I'd have time to see a doctor, but I got refused medicaid at first, so that's why I wound up going to their doctor. Their doctor only focused on the Chronic Fatigue because she said they would not pay for me to see a neurologist(I made my own appt. to go in May). One of my knees is really a mess and she ordered an x-ray on it.
In the meantime, the past 4 years, my family has been through severe financial problems and even eviction. We now live in an extended stay hotel with our two small children. There just isn't enough money for us to live. We have borrowed so much and even gone to stay with my in-laws, who live out of state, for a few months at a time.
I have had many jobs, over 20, since I started working. Most of them have ended with getting fired due to not paying attention, moving too slow and lack of initiative. This, I attribute to absence seizures, because I get the same complaint at home.
 I am a very smart person, but I only have a GED. So, I work low level jobs and have never been able to work my way up because I can't stay there long enough. Many times over the years I got discouraged and didn't even try to work. This is been terrible for my marriage and I have no independence.
My mother suggested that I apply for disability and I didn't think I would qualify, but out of frustration, I did it because I was having to stay with my in-laws with no money or transportation, no control of my life. I don't know if I explained everything well, but thanks for responding.
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knowsalittle
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2010, 04:28:05 PM »

Sounds like you have your hands full and that you and your husband will have to make some decisions on how to get your lifes back on track.  Unless, and until, you see a formal notice that you have been approved for SSA disability you should make plans as though you will never get it.  Based on what you have written it is a very good bet your current medical condition will not meet the SSA definition of disability any time soon.

Remember SSA rules do not make any provisions for personal circumstances.  The only question the disability analyst will consider is do you, or do you not, have a medically diagnosed condition that will prevent any and all types of gainful employment?  See http://www.ssa.gov/dibplan/dqualify4.htm.

Let's start w/the seizures – read http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm sections 11.02 & 11.03.  You will note that the previsions of either section can be applied only if the impairment “persists despite the fact that the individual is following prescribed antiepileptic (emphasis added) treatment.  (See the introduction.) 

Cases allowed based on seizures are few and far between!  SSA considers this a treatable condition.  The rules are very specific and do not take into consideration ANY excuses for not getting and following prescribed treatment. 

It does not appear that Chronic Fatigue or a bad knee, and for which the disability analyst will  have no historical records and very limited current records (the current medical examination), will meet any of the impairments listed in http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm.  If your medical conditions do not meet any of those standards, your medical conditions must prevent your performing ANY type of gainful employment.  As you can see from  http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-ap11.htm, records and medical evidence must show that either you are illiterate, or unable to communicate in English, or must not be able to perform even sedentary work on an 8 hour, sustained, basis. 

Your completion of the Activities of Daily Living form must show how your Chronic Fatigue and/or bad knee restrict any of the areas listed on the form. 

I hate to put things so bluntly but were I in your shoes, I would want to know that my chances of actually receiving benefits were very slim so I could make other plans, rather than be putting all of my eggs in one basket that has a big hole in it.  Again, if you are adjudicated to be completely and totally disabled, that is one thing, but it would appear you may want to spend some time contacting the local Rehabilitation Services, or Vocational Rehabilitation Services office (or whatever it is called in your area), or  other social services agencies (check the yellow pages) to find out what services they may provide. 

I would say good luck but you are going to need more than luck.  You, and your husband, with counsel from your families, church family, and other sources are going to have to come up with a short term, long term, total game plan for you and your family. 

One of those steps will be to find some kind of treating source and get treatment for the problems that you think are the cause of your not being able to work.

Others have survived worse – you can too, but the major responsibility is yours.  You must depend upon yourself and your husband, and take the first steps.   You are a team, work as one.
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newyorkcita
Guest
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2010, 07:00:18 PM »

Thanks Knowsalittle,

I totally see your point. I thought it was a long shot for me to get disability in the first place. I've always felt like I needed help in finding the right jobs and maybe some kind of coping skills. I just didn't know how to get the help. I will look into rehabilitation services.
I'll finish the paperwork they sent me, but I will prepare for the future as if I'm not going to get disability.
I appreciate you putting things so bluntly, because this process is such a mystery to me and I have at times even questioned finishing it. You're right on about me sitting down with my husband and coming up with a plan. Looks like a need to reexamine my ability to work.
Thanks for the advice and insight.
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SSDIHelp
Guest
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2010, 03:27:49 AM »

I'm not so  sure I would give up so quickly.  Your work history alone is s strong proof that yo can't hold down a job.  If you have (or can get) dismissal letters from past employers I would include them in non-medical evidence.  The work history question I would write a special attachment adding a column as to why you were let go.
Cognitive impairments ( the ability to mental function correctly) is a big part of CFS. Research it on the internet and you'll find out why you react the way you do.  It validates you because of specific reasons .  
It used to be CSF was a difficult disability to get approved but recently it is much easier,

Writing the application and getting the appropriate medical records is a painstaking process but might be worth it the end.  The key is to write a very thorough application with medical and non-medical evidence.  
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« Last Edit: April 19, 2010, 06:06:42 AM by SSDAdmin »
knowsalittle
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2010, 06:28:15 AM »

SSDIHelp's point is well taken.  The whole purpose of the activities of daily living form is to tell the disability analyst how a medical condition affects the ability to function - on and off the job.  The key point, however, is there must be a medically diagnosed condition to cause the impaired function.

Unfortunately, in this case, there is no medically diagnosed condition.  It is very doubtful that the one time examination will provide a diagnosis of cerebrospinal fluid.  Self diagnosis off the internet may provide some self-help tips but it will not substitute for competent, professional medical advice and treatment.

The first step for anyone considering SSA disability is to do every thing in their power to overcome the alleged disabling condition.  This means getting treatment and/or vocational help.  The Grid is based on the premise that most people of a certain age, w/certain educational levels, and certain work experience can adapt to other work – even with a medically diagnosed condition that restricts some function. 
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newyorkcita
Guest
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2010, 03:16:16 PM »

I forgot to mentioned that I used to get SSI when I was a child until I got married. I decided I didn't want to reapply back then because I thought I could work and make more. I also worked a little while I was getting SSI.
My Epiilpesy Chronic Fatigue are diagnosed conditions, but since I was living with my parents back then, no one seems to remember who my doctors were.
After I got married, I went to the emergency room on a number of occasions  and saw an allergist for multiple food sensitivities and chemical sensitivities. I lost 30 pounds in a month because I couldn't eat much.  I also visited a chiropractor regularly.
I didn't see a neurologist back then because seizures were the last thing on my mind. I know it sounds crazy, but maybe I just didn't want to think that they were surfacing again. I didn't start thinking that epilepsy was a problem until 2008 when I was pregnant with my son. I didn't want to take seizure meds while I was pregnant, so I didn't see a neuro(Wrong, I know) Then we went through a devastating financial situation and there was no money for me to see a doctor. I didn't get medicaid until now, because we literally have no income.
I know it's a strange story, but when you're going through it, it's just one big ball of confusion. You're just going day to day trying to survive. I didn't start thinking that I might be having seizures again until two years ago.  I was told by someone at social services that if I applied for disability I could get medicaid. I applied for disability and everyone in my family got medicaid. I don't know if it was a coincidence, but I got it this month and I have already seen a GP to get a referral to a neuro and I'm seeing a neuro on May 12th.
The Chronic Fatigue was the focus of the doctor's visit with disability's doctor because I hadn't seen a neuro.
I know I did things kind of backwards, but I didn't know that disability and SSI were different. I was trying to get SSI again because of my financial situation and my trouble with working. Another reason why I applied is to be able to get to see a doctor and get some answers. I was foreign to this process and didn't know how it worked.  I hope I explained this well.  I called Social Security today and they told me that  I'm in the system as applying for both SSI and disability. My case is only 71 days old so I still have until June for them to make a decision. In the meantime, I can see doctors and get treatment.
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