Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Why Does Social Security Disability Care About My Daily Activities?

Social Security disability examiners use an individual's ability, or for that matter, inability, to perform daily activities as a measure of their disability. What I mean to say is that if an individual is unable to take care of his or her own grooming (i.e. showering, washing hair, dressing, brushing teeth, etc.), household chores, drive, make change or count money, grocery shop, they are most likely unable to work at a substantial work activity level (to learn more about this concept: substantial gainful activity).

How does Social Security obtain information about your ability to perform routine activities of daily life (known as ADLs, or activities of daily living)? Social Security disability examiners are able to secure this information from a variety of sources.

Social Security gathers information about an individualís ability to perform activities of daily living, beginning with the initial disability interview if it is done via the phone or in person. During this interview, a Social Security claims representative makes observations with regard to your physical and mental impairments, and these are noted in your disability file. Once your disability file is sent to the state disability agency, it is likely that the disability examiner will send out questionnaires, for you and your third party contact, which address your ability to perform routine activities.

Many individuals also make comments about their daily life to their treating physicians, that are in turn recorded in the physicianís medical notes; naturally, disability examiners read these notes. And if an individual has to attend a Social Security consultative examination, the examining physician may also make observations about an individualís functional capacity from the moment they meet.

Social Security disability examiners use all of these sources to get a clearer picture of what an individual is capable of doing despite the limitations imposed on them by their disability condition or conditions.

Social Security disability is based upon residual functional capacity, consequently getting detailed information about an individualís daily activities is just as important as obtaining objective medical information. Both are needed to make a Social Security disability determination.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to file for disability in Minnesota
Enough Work Credits For Social Security Disability Benefits?
How many hours can you work if you are receiving social security disability?
Decisions on disability applications, fully and partially favorable
How do you get Social Security Disability?
Memory loss and filing for disability
The SSDI SSI disability application, how to file
Working and getting Disability
How to file for disability in South Dakota
Changing disability attorneys
Social Security Disability SSI and how severe a medical condition must be
Social Security Disability hearing, vocational expert, judge
Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal
Chronic pain and filing for disability
Contacting Social Security about the status of your disability claim
How to qualify for disability with depression

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability attorneys and representatives
What is the status of your social security disability or SSI case
Rules and requirements to apply for disability
Will I qualify for disability?
Apply for disability for any medical condition
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
If your disability claim is approved or denied
Social Security Award letter for SSD, SSI
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
How social security evaluates attention deficit
Filing for disability with Post polio syndrome
Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI
SSI award notices are received by approved claimants
Winning and getting disability with a mental condition
Getting disability for rheumatoid arthritis
Can you work if you get Disability?
Who qualifies for SSI and how
How to file for disability and where to apply
Conditions that may qualify as disability
Denied on a disability application
Answering questions at a Social Security Disability hearing