spare time when trying to get social security disability benefits

What You Do in Your Spare Time Matters When Trying to Get Social Security Disability

When you begin your SSDI application, you’re thinking about your work—how many work credits you have, how your disability has affected your work and the loss of your income. But that’s not all the SSA looks at when they process your SSDI application. They’ll look at how you spend every part of your day, not just the hours you work.

Looking for more personalized help with your SSDI application? The team at Baker & Baker is here for you. Whether you’re starting your application, fighting a denial, or preparing for a case review, turn to our team. Call us at 850-433-0888 to schedule a consultation now.

Your Leisure Activities Give Insight into Your Abilities

It’s important for the SSA to have an understanding of your physical and mental abilities, but that doesn’t just come from looking at your work and the limitations you experience there. It also involves looking at how you spend your time outside of work.

For example, if you say that you cannot do your work in the warehouse anymore because you cannot lift heavy weights after an injury, that may seem reasonable. However, if the SSA then finds out that you spend 10 hours a week at the gym working on strength training, that will make your initial claim seem suspicious. Additionally, your leisure activities may help the SSA find other potential career paths you could pursue.

It Doesn’t Just Include Activities You Do for Fun

Of course, this part of their investigation does include your leisure activities. It also looks at your errands and household tasks. If you claim to be completely unable to fulfill your work duties but take care of every aspect of your household, the SSA may wonder if your limitations are as severe are you claim.

Someone who takes care of their children, household cleaning, and all daily errands is still likely able to do some type of work. Essentially, the SSA wants to see that your limitations outside of work line up with your limitations at work.

The SSA Investigates Everything

As you work through your application, throw out any thoughts you have of hiding your leisure activities or household duties. The SSA is thorough in its investigation, and anything you hide will come to light. On top of that, your attempt to hide information from them will definitely be a red flag.

Inconsistencies Will Trigger Further Investigations

Throughout their investigation, the SSA will be comparing your non-work activities to your work duties. They will look at how your non-work activities line up with the limitations you have at work. If everything matches up, there won’t be any issues. They will see that you face identical limitations in and out of work, which is what they would expect to see with a legitimate disability. If you appear to have wildly different capabilities in and out of work, that may be an issue for them.

Honesty Matters

The more they have to dig into your personal affairs, the longer it will take to get a decision on your application. That’s why it is so important to be honest in your application. Some believe that overstating their disability will lead to faster approval when the opposite is actually true. Others are embarrassed to disclose the true severity of their disability, which leads to a confusing and mismatched set of limitations.

For example, consider someone who is unable to work and has also relied on outside help in their household for months. They are embarrassed to say just how much help they get, so on their SSDI application, they write that they do their own laundry, grocery shopping, and pet care. This can actually hurt their application and lead to unnecessary delays. While it may be uncomfortable to disclose everything on your application, doing so is the best option for your claim.

Get Help with Your Disability Claim at Baker & Baker

Applying for disability benefits can be overwhelming and confusing. The team at Baker & Baker can answer your questions and help you make your application as strong as possible. Schedule a consultation with our team now by calling us at 850-433-0888 or contacting us online.

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