Most people who file for disability do not understand the process by which the Social Security Administration determines whether a person is disabled or not.
Because medical records are often subjective and fail to show not just the diagnosis but how a person's medical condition limits their ability to work, Social Security uses a function questionnaire to determine these issues instead.
After filing for disability, there is almost always a Work History Report and a Function Report mailed to the Claimant. These must be taken very seriously. Many people don't think about their answers before writing them down, which oftentimes is exactly what Social Security uses to deny their claim. The reasoning is this: If you are not limited in your daily activities, then you are capable of holding down at least a entry-level sedentary job out in the workforce.
One should always be truthful when answering these questions. First, if your medical records do not at least point to the limitations in your daily life you are claiming to Social Security, you will not be credible and your claim will also be denied for this as well. When looking over my clients Disability Determination Explanation, I see over and over again statements by the claims examiners that statements made by Claimants are either not credible or only partially credible. By the time there is a date set for the hearing before the Administrative Law Judge, these are hard hurdles to overcome.
Another reason why statements made in the Function Report are so important is that oftentimes the judge uses such statements to find an unfavorable decision against the Claimant. The reasoning is this: If one is capable of going to the grocery store, doing laundry and household chores, etc., then he or she is certainly capable of at least working at an entry level sedentary job.
Mental impairments are also oftentimes unsuccessful when filing for disability. One of the reasons why they are denied with such frequency is that Claimants state in their function report that they are able to perform everyday daily activities without any limitations. Again, the judge will be thinking when reviewing the case, if this person is capable of driving alone, socializing with friends and family, etc., then he or she is, again, capable of at least holding down a sedentary full-time entry level position in the workforce.
So, the Claimant's medical records must at the very least show that he or she has a medical condition which severely limits his or her ability to work as well as severely limit his or her daily activities. When you do receive your Work History Report and Function Report, take these very seriously. If you are severely limited in your daily activities, then make sure you convey this to the claims examiner. And, always remember that the further you go in the disability process, the more your answers are scrutinized for their accuracy. As you answer each question, imagine that a judge will one day be determining your case based on such answers in relation to your medical records.
While medical records are the heart of any Social Security disability claim, showing how such diagnosis limits your abilities comes in a very close second. Many cases are denied simply because people do not understand how to convey how their medical conditions limit their capacity to perform at a job and in daily living as well.