You will be asked many times during the disability process to describe in detail your daily activities. Why? Because Social Security defines “disabled” as having limitations that are so severe you cannot work on a full time basis doing any type of job. Limitations that severe will naturally also affect your day-to-day activities. So, it is crucial that you accurately describe the limitations that you have.

For many people this is difficult because you don’t want to admit the extent of your limitations. This is what I tell my clients: Get over it! I don’t mean to be smart or cruel. But, if your limitations are so severe that you cannot work then you have to be brutally honest with yourself and Social Security. Don’t be afraid to admit the things you cannot do now.

Make a list of what you were able to do before you stopped working and whether you can still do that today.

Do you need assistance with some activities? Be sure to include that in any description of your activities.

Here is a list of some activities to include in that list: 

Household chores

  • Shopping for groceries, preparing food, washing dishes.
  • Cleaning.
  • Removing garbage.
  • Making the bed, changing the sheets.
  • Vacuuming, mopping.
  • Cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry
  • Taking care of children
  • Yard work
  • Snow removal
  • Paying bills, taking care of finances
  • Running errands

Leisure and social activities

  • How often do you visit friends, neighbors, and/or family members?
  • Are you the one to initiate contact?
  • Do you have any trouble getting along with friends, family members, neighbors, clerks, landlords, etc.?
  • Do you attend church? How often?
  • Are you a member of any organizations?
  • Do you play cards or other games?
  • Do you go to sporting events, restaurants, and/or movies?
  • Do you participate in any hobbies?
  • Do you read the newspaper, watch the news on TV, and/or follow current events?
  • On a daily basis, how much time do you watch TV, read, use the telephone, sleep, lie down, and/or sit in your favorite chair?
  • Where do you usually lie down (couch, recliner, bed)?
  • How often do you leave your residence and/or drive a car?
  • Are you able to complete a household task in a timely fashion?
  • Has your impairment resulted in you giving up any hobbies?

Personal care

  • Do you require help with dressing, bathing, shaving, and/or fixing hair?
  • Do you get dressed daily?

For more information about Social Security disability claims, order a FREE copy of my book,  Sharon Christie’s Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims.