Completing medical reports, especially complicated disability for neuropathy reports, can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, you are not alone! This article gives you helpful and practical tips for filling out those daunting forms; by the end, you’ll be a pro!
When you submit an application for disability benefits for neuropathy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) gathers information about your daily activities and how your condition impacts them. SSA uses this information, in addition to your medical records, to determine if you have the ability to work. In most cases, SSA gathers this information by sending out a form called the Adult Function Report.
People often find this form overwhelming, but don’t panic. Here are five tips to make things easier.
Five Tips for Completing the Report
1. Describing Your Activities
Answer the questions from the perspective of a bad day, be honest, and provide detail.
Many people struggle when completing this form because they have forgotten what life was like before peripheral neuropathy kept in. So, take time to think about all of the changes you have made to adjust to your life because of your condition. For many, describing these limitations is embarrassing and painful, but the more detail you can provide for your case, the stronger it is.
Remember: SSA does not get the opportunity to see you physically. They have to rely on your medical records and the forms you complete to understand why you cannot work.
Follow these guidelines when describing your activities:
- Report all limitations you have while doing your daily tasks. Include any accommodations you make or assistance tools you use during the day. For example:
- Has driving become limited due to foot weakness?
- Do you use a walker due to imbalance?
- Do you only shower once a week instead of once a day because of the pain when standing?
- Do you require a shower chair or handrails to bathe?
- Does your inability to balance safely require you to need assistance with self-care, like getting dressed?
- Can you only eat microwavable meals because standing is too painful to cook?
- Explain your answers when possible. For example, if you do cook only using the microwave because of your health, explain why. Otherwise, SSA might assume that you can cook meals from scratch, which takes physical activity and could indicate that you have the ability to work.
- Explain all of your limitations, including the time it takes to complete a daily task. Think about any activities you can only do for a short amount of time or require a break to finish.
- Finally, always include whether you receive help with any of your daily activities or if someone has to do something for you.
2. Tricky Questions
Take time to understand and review questions carefully.
Questions on the report are designed to determine if you are capable of working. Answering incorrectly could adversely impact your disability claim. Yet, many people find certain questions confusing.
Review some of the most commonly misunderstood and inadequately answered questions to make sure you accurately represent your situation: How do your illnesses, injuries, or conditions limit your ability to work?
SSA wants to see medical reasons why you are unable to work. Always include your symptoms when answering this question. Examples might be issues with your:
- lack of ability to concentrate
- dizziness causing an inability to walk or stand for extended periods of time
- numbness causing an inability to feel
- weakness causing an inability to hold or grasp objects safely
- swelling causing an inability to sit for extended periods of time
Tricky Question: Personal Care (Check here ___ if NO PROBLEM with personal care.)
This question tricks many people because SSA is asking if you have difficulty with or have made changes to your personal care, not if you can care for yourself. For example: Do you have to sit down when getting dressed or showering? Do you shave less often? Do you require help brushing your hair? Unless you have no issues and have not had to make any personal care changes, do not check this box.
Tricky Question: Are you able to pay bills, count change, handle a savings account, or use a checkbook/money orders?
To many, this question sounds like an inquiry into your finances. But SSA asks this question to determine if you would receive your own disability check or if someone else would need to receive the check on your behalf. So only check “no” if you have physical and mental difficulties resulting from your symptoms and medical condition that would require the payment to be sent to someone on your behalf, not if you have limited finances.
Tricky Question: What are your hobbies and interests?
Include both hobbies and activities that you can no longer perform and those you have now. This shows how your life has changed because of your medical conditions.
3. The “Remarks” Section
Make use of this space for overflow.
The adult function report includes a lot of information, so many questions do not provide enough room for answers. If you run out of space when answering a question, use the remarks section for additional space. Include the number of the question you are answering. The remarks section can also be used to share additional information that you would like SSA to know. If you run out of space in the remarks section, you can attach additional pages to the form. So, take as much space as you need.
4. Don’t Rush
Ask for an extension as necessary.
The letter attached to the function report states it is due within ten days of the letter’s date. If you need more time, you can call the examiner’s number listed on the form and ask for an extension. Submitting a thoroughly completed form a little late is better than submitting a hurried, partially completed form. A determination on your claim sometimes comes down to what information is provided on this form, so it is very important to complete the form entirely.
5. Get Help
Don’t feel like you need to do this on your own.
If you have trouble understanding the questions or have difficulty writing, you can have someone else complete the form for you. Also, you may not be aware of how much your impairments affect you and impact your daily living activities, so an outside perspective can be helpful.
After You Finish
Once you complete the form, read through it to ensure you did not miss any important details and make a copy to keep for your own records. You may need this information again.
If you have to file an appeal, SSA may send you another adult function report, and it will be beneficial to have your original report so you can highlight any changes in your condition and provide consistent information to SSA.
The adult function report gives you the opportunity to provide a first-hand perspective of how your condition impacts you physically and mentally on a daily basis, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.
Make sure to use this form to describe what you go through every day, how your daily routine has changed, and how your condition prevents you from working on a sustained basis.
By implementing these recommendations, filling out disability for neuropathy reports isn’t too bad. Remember to be descriptive in your activities, carefully review and take time to understand complicated questions, take advantage of the “remarks” section of the report, don’t stress about the due date, and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Your report needs to be the best it can be so you can receive the most benefits possible. By following these simple suggestions, you will have the best chance for benefits approval!
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