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‘Tis the Season to “Over-do” It: Holiday Activities that Can SQUASH Your Disability Claim

Holiday Activities: What You're Doing vs What the SSA Sees

Ho-ho-howdy, friends Holidays are just around the corner. This could be a big YAY for some and a big NAY for others.  The holidays come with tasks and social expectations that could be tiring for some, but unbearable for others who are struggling with a disability. 

If you’re in the process of applying for disability benefits, I truly hope you’ll take the time to hear this story to the end. I also covered this topic in a segment of Ozarks Live for anyone who prefers an audio experience. Click Here for a short, 3-minute overview. 

Thumbnail Text: The risks of festive activities. Features digital graphic of autumn leaves and an axe cutting firewood. Click for 3-minute informative video.

What You’re Doing vs What the SSA Sees

Remember, the Social Security Administration (SSA) can conduct an investigation if they have any reason to believe you may be lying about your disability or over-exaggerating your limitations. They could observe your social media, check in with your employer for surveillance footage, or even drive past your house.

For you, holiday preparation might include activities that are RARE compared to your daily living. But to someone who isn’t familiar with your personal life, the activities may look more like a contradiction to something you’re claiming.  

Physical Activities

      Raking Leaves & Yard Work

        👉 Twisting, Turning, Bending, Stooping

      Deer Hunting

        👉 Concentration, Climbing, Lifting, Navigating Uneven Ground

      Meal Preparation

        👉 Steady Hands, Reliable Grip, Prolonged Standing

Not all disabilities are visible. I’ve met so many people with depression, social anxiety, and other qualifying disabilities who especially struggle during the holiday season. If you’re claiming that your condition has gotten so bad that you can’t hold a job, here are some potential concerns that the SSA could be looking for. 

Mental & Emotional Demands

      Big Meals

      👉  Planning, Concentration, Multi-Tasking, Shopping

      Holiday Parties

      👉 Family Stress, Sensory Overload, Unfamiliar People & Places

      Shopping

      👉 Budgeting, Decision-Making, Crowds 

Communicating with Your Doctor

“If you can work hard to prepare for Thanksgiving, why can’t you work hard to prepare job-related tasks?”

Unfortunately, what commonly happens is that the SSA will see in your medical notes that you mentioned all of the holiday activities you participated in. If you follow my DIY Disability Tips, you’ll often hear me remind you to be mindful of your “small talk” conversations with your doctor. 

When you’re catching up and exchanging your holiday stories with your doctor, it’s natural to downplay how strenuous the season has been and focus on the things you look forward to. Even if you did have fun shopping with your friends and you did enjoy the time you spent decorating with your family, it’s just as important to accept and communicate that it was exertive. 

Which brings us to the most important part of today’s conversation 👇

Explain Your Holiday Experiences Thoroughly 

Do talk to your doctor about your holidays and explain all that you’ve accomplished, but also how you accomplished them. Did you take a lot of breaks? Did you need help with tasks or complete them in non-conventional ways?

One of my favorite examples is a buddy of mine who hunts FROM. HIS. COUCH. 😅 No joke–he opens his living room window and shoots at the deer. Obviously, there’s a BIG difference between a couch and a tree stand. But who’s going to assume that you use unconventional methods unless you tell them? 🤷

In a nutshell, you should enjoy your holiday without constantly worrying about the implications that the activities will have on your disability claim. Stay safe, have fun, don’t overdo it, and give me a call if you need help 🖐️

Here’s How Our Disability Representative Can Help!

As a local representative, our disability advocate will know your case from start to finish. We’ll be involved every step of the way, and you’ll speak to the same person every time. Our goal is to make your case the easiest one to approve.

For that reason, we don’t just fine-tune what you have and put it together in a cut-and-paste format. We’ll meticulously review your case and provide feedback on the weak areas of your application and offer clear directions on what information we need and where you can find them.

Whether you’ve already begun the application process or are just getting started, we encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation to help determine the best strategy for your case. Our mission is to eliminate the red tape and mountains of paperwork so you can focus on your health and the things that matter.

⏰ Schedule an appointment from anywhere in the US! 📱

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