Advice on Completing your Function Report

By Disability Group

You have filed your Initial Application with the Social Security Administration and a month and a half later, you receive a form in the mail called a “Function Report” from SSA. This form asks detailed questions about your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). RFC assesses your ability to perform tasks on a daily basis, including daily living tasks, caring for your personal needs, your intellectual functioning, and how well you get along with others. This Function Report provides Social Security with valuable details about how you would be able to function in a work environment. Many claimants are unsure if there is a right or wrong way to answer these questions. Here are some tips that may assist you when filling out this form.

  • Be sure to emphasize your limitations. Anything that you are unable to do should have an explanation with it as to why this task is difficult. Do you need any assistance doing this specific activity? Does it take you much longer than usual due to your conditions? If so, how much longer and why specifically? Do you require a certain amount of rest afterwards (specify sitting down, lying down, elevating your legs, etc.)?
  • Be sure to point out if you have “good” days and “bad” days. Describe how different your activities are on a bad day and why. What gives you more trouble? What specific conditions cause you to have more trouble performing tasks?
  • Not all questions may be relevant to your conditions. Some people with only mental conditions may not relate to questions regarding their physical impairments. Do not be overly concerned with questions that you think do not apply to you.
  • Be sure to indicate how long it took you to fill out the Function Report in the comments section. Did you have to take any breaks? Did you frequently have to stop writing, or did someone have to do the writing for you?
  • Most importantly, be honest. Answer each question as if you are having your very worst day. You want the person reading this to understand exactly how your conditions affect your lifestyle and your ability to perform complex and simple activities on a daily basis. If you are ever unsure about how to answer a question, be honest!

It is very important that you fill out this form in as much detail as possible as soon as you receive it. Social Security will be unable to make a fair and timely decision on your case without it. The best way to ensure that your claim, and all the forms that are required with it, are handled properly is to hire an attorney. Your disability attorney will stay on top of all paperwork and requests from Social Security and make sure that all your medical records have been received.