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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
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What is meant by “activities of daily life” when applying for Social Security disability benefits?


When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the disability claims examiner in charge of your claim may ask how your disability affects your “activities of daily life,” “activities of daily living,” or ADLs. What does this mean?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is interested in how your disability or impairment affects what you can and cannot do in any given day. This will help them to make a decision about whether you are able to work at a paying job.

The SSA may want information about your daily activities, including:

  • What do you do on a typical day, starting from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed?
  • Do you have hobbies, interests, and activities that you enjoy on a regular basis?
  • Are you able to drive?
  • Can you use public transportation?
  • Are you able to do household chores? Are there any household chores that you need help with?
  • Do you prepare your own meals?
  • Are you able to feed yourself?
  • Does your disability affect your ability to get dressed, bathe yourself, shave, or use the toilet?
  • Does your disability affect your sleep?
  • How does your disability limit your ability to work?

The SSA is interested in how your disability or medical condition makes you unable to do some of these things, either not at all, or in a limited manner. When you are answering questions about your activities of daily life, be honest and give as much detail as possible. For example, if you are unable to drive because you have epilepsy, you might say, “I am unable to drive because I experience seizures and am not legally allowed to drive.”

Need help with your SSDI application? Contact the Massachusetts disability attorneys at Keefe Disability Law. Our SSDI attorneys can help you complete your SSDI paperwork and gather the information needed to support your claim for disability benefits. To schedule a free consultation, call Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847 or fill out the online contact form.

Do you have additional questions? Request a free copy of our book titled The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability, and get the answers you need.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law