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Describing your Daily Activities at SSD Hearings

Man drinks coffee while thinking about his daily activities and whether he is able to collect Social Security Disability

If you are going before a judge to discuss your disability, you should be prepared to answer questions about your day-to-day functioning. Judges tend to ask claimants who are seeking disability benefits how they typically spend their days, and they take that information and use it to make a determination with respect to whether or not their daily routine is in-line with their claimed symptoms and functional limitations. For instance, if a claimant states that he or she has a difficult time standing in place and walking due to considerable pain in the legs and feet, yet that same claimant tells the judge that he or she goes running on a regular basis, the judge is going to have a hard time believing his or her statements about the symptoms experienced and his or her functional restrictions.

Give a clear picture of your restrictions

Your Social Security attorney will encourage a claimant to use the judge’s questions as a time to enlighten him or her about your specific ailments and to give a clear picture of your claim as a whole. Claimants should be as clear as possible when providing answers to questions, and they should make sure to provide a lot of details.

Even doing “Nothing” is doing “Something”

If the judge asks you to advise him or her about what you do on a typical day and you respond by saying “nothing,” that definitely is not a good response; in actuality, it’s not true. Everybody is always doing something, even if you are just sitting down with a blank stare on your face – that’s doing something. Make sure you provide the judge with a description of what you actually do, no matter how limited your functions might be.

A day in your life

If the judge poses this kind of question to you, don’t make generic statements, such as you do a little cleaning around the home or do a load of laundry from time to time. While the answer might be the truth, it won’t be helpful to the judge because none of the crucial information is included with respect to these activities. For instance, you need to alert the judge that although you do clean up around the house, you have to stop and rest every few minutes because of your excruciating pain. The judge needs to know that when you do laundry, you have to get someone to help you with loading the washer and dryer because it hurts to bend down. To be clear, your Social Security attorney will advise you to give the judge enough information that will serve to support your disability claim.

To discuss your legal options, contact us or call our office at (843) 667.0400.