When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) the Social Security Disability Determination Bureau will mail you a function report and work history report to complete and return. These forms must be returned to Social Security.

The function report must be filled out completely and honestly based on your ability to perform certain daily functions such as personal care and household chores. If Social Security determines that you have the functional capacity to work the claim will be denied.

A few tips to think about while completing this form are:

  • Be specific: Provide as much detail as possible and do not leave any room for guessing how a certain function is performed by you on a daily basis. If you need more space than what is given you can finish writing the question on the back page or attach another page.
  • Take your time: Do not just breeze through this report. Take your time to think about how you are limited in each area Social Security is asking you about.
  • Be thorough: list all the limitations you have, if anyone assists you in performing a certain activity and how this is different from the way it used to be.
  • Avoid certain words: always, never cannot usually are not realistic. What is realistic is most of the time, usually or most days.
    The sections that mimic work such as cooking, cleaning, and watching children are equivalents to jobs: make sure note the limitations and if you are assisted in performing these daily functions.
  • Answer every question: Do not leave any question unanswered. If an answer does not apply to specific disability, you can write not applicable in the space provided.
  • Be honest: this report can be crossed referenced with your medical records so make sure the limitations match what you are telling your doctors.
  • Ask for help: There is a place at the end of the report where can put the contact information of the person that assisted you in completing the report.
  • Return this report in the time frame provided by Social Security: Social Security will provide a 10-day timeframe to return this report to their office. If you need more time, please contact Social Security, and let them know you are working on the report and when you anticipate completing it and mailing it back to them. Not sending this form back to Social Security can be used against you. Not complying with filling out forms is a big reason claims are denied.
  • Make a copy of the report: Keep a copy for your records. If the report is lost in the mail you will have a copy of the report to give to Social Security.

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Attorney Shari Lynn Stevens has worked extensively with residents of Northeastern Wisconsin to secure their financial freedom through filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.  She also advocates and represents disabled clients in their Social Security disability claims.