As part of applying for disability, you may need to fill out a “function report.” This form requires a large amount of information about your daily life and life-tasks, focusing on what you are and are not able to do. After you give the Social Security Administration (SSA) this information, what happens next? How long will your case take after filing the report? Do you need an attorney to fill out this form? Our Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak explains.
What is the SSA’s Function Report?
A function report is a form about 10 pages long (including the instructions page). This form requires you to fill out exhaustive details about the following information:
- Biographical information
- Details of your injury or condition
- Other people in your household that care for you
- Physical limitations before injury
- Certain daily activities
- Physical abilities
- Use of wheelchairs, canes, crutches, hearing aids, glasses, and other devices
- Medication you take
- Other information
The SSA may request that you fill out this form as part of your disability application process. They will use the information you provide to help them decide whether or not your disability qualifies under their definitions and standards for disability benefits. They may also ask that your doctor fill out a similar form to help confirm your condition and abilities.
This form is usually filled out on a computer or by hand and mailed to the SSA. This, of course, can come with some challenges if your disability is so severe that you cannot physically fill out the application. Severe pain, cognitive issues, paralysis, or even blindness can make filling out this form difficult, and your attorney can help you fill out the form fully and accurately.
It is important to be honest when filling out this application. Lying on disability applications and forms is outright illegal and will usually end not only in termination or denial of benefits, but also with potential criminal charges and fines.
When Do I Fill Out the Function Report While Applying for Disability?
If the SSA wants you to fill out a function report, they will usually send you one. This form is not always a standard part of your initial application, and it will usually be requested a couple of months after you send in your initial application.
As mentioned, the SSA uses this form to determine whether your disability qualifies for disability benefits. One of the primary factors the SSA looks at when you apply for disability benefits is whether your disability interferes with your day-to-day tasks and prevents you from working to support yourself. The information in the function report tells them how badly your injury or condition impacts your day-to-day life and helps them understand the daily hardships of your condition.
If the SSA reads your initial application and gets a clear understanding that your disability is severe enough to justify disability benefits, they may not ask for a function report. In other cases, the SSA may be uncertain and will ask for a function report to clear up any questions. This means that you usually must wait until they look at your initial application before they request a function report.
In other cases, the SSA may deny your claim, erring on the side of the cheaper decision. In these cases, you may be able to use a function report as part of your appeal process. This would show the SSA why they were wrong in denying you disability and help prove the severity of your disability and the size of the impact it has on your life and ability to care for yourself.
What Happens After Filling Out a Function Report for Disability?
As with much of the disability application process, you must wait after filling out a function report. The paperwork and application process for disability can be very slow, and it can take months before the SSA gets to your application and confirms or denies your disability. Your attorney can help you understand the specific timeline on your case, but the SSA claims that most cases take 3-5 months for a decision to be made.
If the SSA does not request a function report until a month or two after your initial application, it is likely your case will be on the longer end of the application process. Regardless of how long the process takes, most disability applicants that apply for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) still have a 5-month waiting period on their case. This waiting period means the SSI has time to analyze your application and make a decision without delaying your benefits any longer than they would normally be delayed.
Fortunately, most SSDI recipients can get back benefits and retroactive benefits. Back benefits include all payments the SSA owes you from the date of application to the date of approval. You can also get retroactive benefits to cover you from the date of injury through the date of application, meaning that a delay in applying should ultimately not affect your total benefits. In addition to these benefits, you will continue to get ongoing disability benefits for as long as you continue to qualify.
Call Our Fayetteville Disability Lawyer for Help Applying for Disability in Arkansas
Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law helps disability applicants in the Fayetteville area and throughout Arkansas apply to get the disability benefits they need. If your application was denied or your benefits were suspended or terminated, our Fayetteville disability lawyer may also be able to help with your case. To schedule a free legal consultation, call our attorney today at (479) 316-0438.