When you apply for Social Security disability, you must submit evidence that you are disabled. If you have treating doctors, you list their names and other information about your medical condition on a Disability Report, which you file with the initial application. If Social Security requires more information on your ability to work and earn a living, or wants to compare your own testimony with that of your doctors, the agency may also ask you to fill out Form 3373-BK, a Function Report.
Social Security sends disability applications to a Disability Determination Service (DDS), where the claim is assigned to an adjudicator. This individual reviews your records and evidence, and makes a decision on your claim. If the adjudicator needs more information to make the decision, or wants to verify the information he has, he may send you a Function Report to fill out. You have 10 days from the date you receive the Function Report to return it to the DDS. If you don't return it, the adjudicator will make a decision on the evidence he has - -and the result, without a requested Function Report in the file, is usually a denial.
The Function Report requires you to describe your physical condition and how your disability affects your daily life. Section A is for basic information; Section B is for your daily activities: sleep, personal care, meals, housework, hobbies, social activities, shopping and getting around outside of the home. This section also asks about your ability to handle money, whether you are caring for anyone else and whether you have anyone in the home assisting you.
Physical and Mental Limitations
Section C of the Function Report asks you to describe the specific physical and mental limitations caused by your disability. The form asks how your illness or injury affects lifting, standing, walking, squatting, reaching, bending and other functions needed in a work situation. It also asks about your ability to pay attention, follow instructions, get along with your co-workers and supervisors, and handle stress. If you use crutches, a wheelchair or any other assistance, you list these at the end of Section C.
The final Section D, "Remarks," offers you a chance to add any information you like about your disability and how it affects you. It's a good idea to add information on your own and be as detailed and specific as possible. The more information you offer the adjudicator, the more convincing your case will be that you are disabled and unable to work. The burden of proof is on you to convince the agency that you are truly disabled.