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Home » Glossary » Activities of Daily Living

Definition of Activities of Daily Living

The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly cash payments through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program to applicants who are unable to work and perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). To get a better understanding of how a claimant's disability affects their daily activity, and therefore their ability to work, the SSA will evaluate the claimant's activities of daily living.

The assumption is that if the claimant cannot perform the basic activities of daily living, which include "household chores, driving, shopping, fixing meals, socializing, visiting family and friends, paying bills and handling money, and performing personal grooming and hygiene actions," the claimant most likely cannot maintain full-time employment.

Information about the claimant's activities of daily living is collected by the SSA through the activities of daily living questionnaire (SSA-3373 Function Report - Adult). Consider, however, if the claimant's condition meets a listing on the Social Security Administration's Listing of Impairments or Blue Book, the SSA will conclude they are automatically disabled and unable to work. Under these conditions, the SSA may not require functional information about a claimant's activities of daily list. According to the SSA, the information for Form SSA-3373 may be obtained by telephone and recorded on an SSA-5002 in lieu of using Form SSA-3373.

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