If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you will be asked to list two contacts who are not doctors, who know about your condition and who can “help you with your claim.” The Social Security Administration might ask these contacts for information about your abilities and activities.
You can list anyone you wish, including your spouse, relatives, neighbors, friends, clergy, teachers, or employers.
The Social Security Administration generally will not contact the people you list unless it feels it needs further evidence. By then, the SSA will have your medical records, evaluations from your doctor, and documentation from interviews with SSA staff and examinations with medical consultants.
If SSA reaches out to your contacts, they will receive Form SSA-3380-BK or the Third Party Function Form. This does not mean that there is a problem with your application, but it does mean your case was not clear-cut.
The form asks your contacts very detailed questions about your ability to function in daily life. They are not allowed to ask you for help. The questions include whether you care for others or pets, whether you are able to perform basic grooming tasks like using the toilet, whether you can perform household tasks and how you get around. The form also asks about your shopping habits, money management, hobbies, social activities, emotional well being and medications.
Because the eight pages of questions are highly intimate and require a deep knowledge of your daily life, selecting the right contacts in your application is important. Contacts who do not know this information will not help your case — the SSA would not be contacting them, after all, if it did not want more information.
The SSA will notice inconsistencies between what your contacts say and what you claim in your application, so it’s important to keep your listed contacts updated on any changes in your daily condition.
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