If you are appealing the denial of your Social Security disability claim, it is essential to prepare for your disability hearing thoroughly. One of the key areas you will need to address is how your medical condition(s) affects your ability to perform daily activities. In this blog post, we will discuss how to describe your daily activities at your disability hearing to increase your chances of a successful appeal.
Why is Describing Daily Activities Important?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates disability claims based on an applicant’s ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). SGA is defined as the ability to perform work that earns a certain amount of income. To qualify for disability benefits, an applicant must be unable to perform SGA because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
The SSA evaluates an applicant’s ability to perform SGA by considering their functional limitations. Functional limitations are the physical or mental restrictions that limit an applicant’s ability to perform work-related tasks.
One way an applicant can show the extent of their functional limitations is by describing their daily activities. By describing daily activities, the applicant can provide insight into how their medical condition affects their ability to perform routine tasks. This information can be crucial in demonstrating the extent of the applicant’s functional limitations and inability to perform SGA.
Describing Your Daily Activities at Your Disability Hearing
When describing your daily activities at a disability hearing, it is essential to be honest and accurate. The judge will evaluate your testimony to determine the extent of your functional limitations, so it is essential to provide a clear and detailed picture of your abilities and limitations. Here are some tips for describing your daily activities effectively:
- Describe Specific Activities
When describing your daily activities, be specific about the tasks you perform and the limitations you experience. For example, if you have difficulty standing for long periods, describe how this affects your ability to perform household chores or run errands. If you have difficulty with fine motor skills, describe how this affects your ability to perform personal grooming tasks or prepare meals.
- Describe the Frequency of Activities
In addition to describing specific activities, it is essential to describe how often you perform them. For example, if you can perform household chores but only for short periods, describe how often you need to take breaks and how long you are able to work before needing to rest.
- Describe Accommodations or Assistance Needed
If you require accommodations or help to perform daily activities, be sure to describe them in detail. For example, if you need to use a cane or walker to walk, describe how this affects your ability to perform household chores or run errands. If you require assistance with personal grooming tasks, describe who provides this assistance and how often.
- Describe Activities You Can No Longer Perform
It is also important to describe daily activities that you can no longer perform because of your medical condition. For example, if you can no longer drive due to vision problems or if you can no longer lift heavy objects due to back pain, describe how this affects your ability to perform other tasks and your overall quality of life.
- Be Honest About Your Abilities and Limitations
Above all, it is essential to be honest about your abilities and limitations when describing your daily activities. Do not exaggerate or downplay your limitations, as this can harm your credibility and hurt your chances of a successful appeal.
Getting Help with Your Disability Hearing
Describing your daily activities is an essential part of appealing a Social Security disability claim denial. By providing a clear and detailed picture of your abilities and limitations, you can show the extent of your functional limitations and your inability to perform SGA. Because this is such an important part of your disability appeals hearing, you may want to have the help of an experienced disability attorney. A disability attorney can help you prepare your testimony about your daily activities to ensure that it may better fit what the SSA wants to know.
Brock and Stout’s disability attorneys have over 27 years of experience helping clients get the disability benefits they need. Contact us for a free evaluation of your situation to see if we can help you and your family get the benefits you need.