Most claimants are not aware of why the Adult Function Report is the trickiest disability form.
In fact, until the claim is filed, most claimants don’t even know this form exists.
Usually, the idea of filing for Social Security Disability starts with a doctor stating that a person’s working days are over.
It also starts with the claimant quitting their job because it is too difficult to keep up.
But neither doctors nor you were trained to file disability forms. Or even how to start the process.
If you are in the process of starting an application you can check my post about How to Start. Or you can take my Free Mini-Course to learn the basics before diving deep into more information about the filing process.
The point is, claimants are not aware that some of the forms that Social Security wants you to fill out are full of traps designed to hurt a claimant’s chances.
Whether they do it on purpose or the forms are poorly designed it is a mystery.
But they do include questions that the non-legally trained claimant can easily mess it up.
Why the Adult Function Report is the trickiest Disability Form
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The simple explanation is that the Adult Function Report contains “innocent-looking” questions that are full of traps. Traps that can really hurt your claim!
The long explanation is that the purpose of the Adult Function Report is to ask questions about your activities of daily living (ADL).
Through this form, Social Security wants to know what you do every day.
Things as simple as grooming, shopping, chores, etc are part of the questions. Claimants are unsuspecting that these activities can actually hurt their claim.
Most disabled claimants will say that they “don’t do much” because of their illnesses.
But what constitutes “not doing much“?
Say, for example, you mention in your form that because you “can’t do much” all you do is watch TV all day.
An innocent answer, right?
In the mind of Social Security examiners, if you can watch TV all day, then you can actually work.
“Remember that Social Security only has to prove that you can do a job even with your limitations and your claim is over”
Of course, this is a simplification of the rule.
But if they can show you can watch TV all day (from your own words!) then they will say that you can do a Monitor job, for example.
What is a monitor job?
This is a person who sits in a room, mostly without any public contact. That person’s job is to watch a monitor all day long to see if people are stealing stuff in a store or bank.
The person can sit, walk and stand whenever they want to. And if the person has issues with getting along with people, it is a great job since you rarely talk to anyone during your shift.
So the burden will be on the claimant to prove that they cannot do this job. Yet, on the form, in the claimant’s own words, he is saying that he can watch TV, er, a monitor, all day long.
Do you see why this answer is not that innocent?
And the TV example is just one of many that appear harmless but that is often used to deny claims.
So How do I complete the Adult Function Report in a way that won’t hurt my claim?
I’m glad you asked!
You can start by reading my post about How to Properly Complete Your Disability Forms. ⇐Here. Or click on the image below.
But if you really want a step by step, question by question, hand-holding tutorial, I got just the thing!
I recently published an online course called The Ultimate Adult Function Report Form Tutorial. ⇐Here or click on the image below to sign up or take a sneak peek.
This tutorial will walk you through each question and will tell you all the tips and tricks that each question presents.
I will give you examples for those with physical and mental illnesses so you know how to elaborate your own answers with confidence.
The best part, you can actually join a private Facebook group and ask general questions about the form! This is great, especially for those who don’t have an attorney.
How cool is that?
Claimants often start their claims without an attorney.
Yet, this form is one of the most critical forms a claimant will have to complete, and no one is there to check your answers.
The worst part is that most claimants don’t usually hire attorneys until later in the process. However, these forms are sent to the claimant in the earlier stages.
By the time the claimant decides to hire an attorney, the damage is done. And sometimes it is nearly impossible to fix it.
For example, if you are at the hearing stage, it is too late to fix the forms. And you will need very strong evidence to rebut your own answers on the Adult Function Report form!
In other words, your words CAN and WILL be used against you!
I see it every day when claimants call me and say they were denied at their hearing and now they want to appeal.
When I read the judge’s decision, in 90% of the cases, I find the judge repeating words he found in the Adult Function Report to deny the claim.
These words are sometimes repeated verbatim and they all came from the claimant!
This is why I created The Ultimate Adult Function Report Form Tutorial
Attorneys cannot charge a fee to personally help claimants at the early stages unless they take the claim early on and win the claim later.
Many attorneys won’t take cases early on for many reasons that would take too long to explain here (check my post about why attorneys are not taking your case to find out)
Yet, claimants are out there making mistakes that can cost years of hardship with a high potential for denial because they didn’t know what they were doing.
When it’s time to hire an attorney, some will refuse to take the case because the answers on that particular form are so damaging that no one wants to touch it with a 10-foot pole.
It is a sad, sad situation!
That is also the reason why I created this blog too. To help claimants early on and give them the tools to at least know how to get the right information.
A few things before I go:
- “Common sense” and “just being honest” WILL NOT help with this form.
You certainly should not lie in the forms.
But you should learn a better way to answer truthfully. And these are truths that even YOU are not aware of, even though you live those truths every day!
2. What you say to your doctors may also be used against you!
Even worse, the judge CAN and WILL compare notes between what you said to your doctor versus what you said on the forms. Consistency is a big problem and credibility can go out the window without you even realizing it.
See my posts about Damaging statements to doctors and my post about Things your doctors do that can hurt your claim to learn more.
3. If you can get an attorney to review your forms, do it!
4. If you can’t or don’t want to hire an attorney, The Ultimate Adult Function Report Form Tutorial is a great alternative if you want to DIY your claim and learn how to complete this form properly and with confidence. Feel free to click on the image below to sign up or take a sneak peek before purchasing.
I hope this post serves at least to bring awareness of the importance of how your answers can undermine your claim, even if you have good records supporting your disability.
Don’t forget to join my Facebook Group for other questions and concerns about the disability process or the Adult Function Report.
Until next time,
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