Can You Do “X”?

Guest post by Willow

Can you sit? Can you walk? Can you drive a car? Can you take care of a cat?

If anyone asks if you can you do something, don’t just answer the question they ask. Answer by telling them both what you can and can’t do.

Talk About Repercussions

How much you can you lift… “I can lift x pounds before causing pain or injury.”

How far can you walk… “I can walk x feet before needing to pause and rest.”

How long can you sit… “I can sit up for x minutes before I start to have y symptom”

Talk About “Yes, But”

Do you take care of children?… “I care for my daughter, but my mother comes over every day because I can’t watch her alone for more than 30 minutes… but I cannot bath or dress her or lift her onto the changing table… but I can no longer drive her to school or daycare…”

Can you cook meals?… “I make meals, but only soup from a can or a frozen microwave dinner… but only if my sister helps me and I lie down in the middle… but only if I use a rolling chair in the kitchen and make light snacks… but only one time per month….”

Talk About Worst Days

How long can you stand… “When my symptoms are bad, no more than x minutes.”

How far can you walk… “When I am in pain, no more than x feet/blocks”

Talk About What You Can’t Do

If you can do things sometimes and not others:

Can You Tie Your Shoes?…. It depends. There are many times that I don’t put on shoes because I can’t bend down to tie my shoes…. because I get dizzy… because I can’t see straight… because my fingers don’t work… because I’m too fatigued to sit up…..”

Can you use the computer?…. “It depends. There are many times I want to use the computer but can’t… because I have pain in my hands…. because I have headaches and can’t look at the screen… because I’m too weak to sit up… because I can’t focus on it for more then 20 minutes… ”

Great Video by Jonathan Ginsberg. Watch me!!

How Does Social Security Define Sitting, Standing and Walking?

7 thoughts on “Can You Do “X”?”

  1. When they ask me many of those very questions in your article I answered sometimes. They turned me down for disability because they said that means i can work a part time job.


  2. How do I transfer my section 8 in salt lake City to Lehi Utah valley section 8 fast. I’m approved in salt lake county and want to get a Lehi appartment.?


  3. Very good advice in this post. I worked in the insurance industry for a major company in their “home office” before becoming disabled myself and have seen the corruption and sleepy tactics that disability insurance providers will enact to deny or end benefits on a claimant. I also have SSDI. In the various support groups that I am in online for health issues, the topic of getting on any form of disability comes up a lot, and I recommend this site a lot. What I tell people is to keep detailed notes with all the ways their conditions disable them, so that if they get an unexpected call from anyone related to their claim, or when they have dr appointments, they can reference those notes as often memory is fuzzy and confusion and anxiety kick in and we end up saying all the wrong things….the correct answer to ANY and EVERY question is how ones health issues PREVENT them from doing XYZ….but folks are often ashamed of what they can no longer do anymore and so the tendency is to hide and mask how disabling we really are, when in fact our drs and insurance claims people are the very ones who need to see the truth of our disabling conditions! If we are not prepared to advocate for ourselves, who will? I was approved for my SSDI on the first try within 4 weeks of applying online (by myself with no lawyer) and so was my mom vs my ex has been denied at least 5 times over several years – all because he does not know how to advocate for himself and the state assigned people to advocate for him who have no idea what they are doing. He meets the strict criteria for chronic heart failure and should have been approved long ago but was never being evaluated for the correct diagnosis and the correct specialist was never consulted/contacted etc…..and likely he will not live long enough to ever win his case. Thank you for putting this info out there. Knowledge is power.


  4. Thank you for all the time and energy you’ve put into this beautiful website. You’ve helped me (& countless others) so much.
    My ssi hearing is in 4 days and I’m praying I get approved. My attorney says to stick to yes or no answers which makes no sense at all because it’s not that simple! I am going to follow your advice and I’ll let you know how it goes.
    I’m a 38yo woman with anxiety, c-ptsd/ptsd, adhd w/poor response to stimulants because of my heart, celiac sprue, chronic ida, pernicious anemia, peripheral neuropathy, tachycardia, an atrial septal defect, migraines that don’t respond to treatment, idiopathic hypersomnia w/poor response to stimulants because of my heart, I walk w/a cane & use a shower chair. I also have some sort of autonomic dysfunction not diagnosed but mentioned in my records. Also chronic debilitating fatigue and weakness that’s been documented by my doctors over the past couple years along w/permenant neurological damage from 20yrs of untreated b12 deficiency. Aphasia, confusion, memory problems etc. Some days I talk weird like my words don’t come out right or I’ll say things that aren’t words at all. Dargenbargen is one that my kids, 17 & 13 tease me about just to make me laugh because it used to come out of my mouth several times a day when I talked – no idea why….
    I think that’s all….
    I have a hard time thinking straight and answering questions for all the above reasons. Even on a good day it’s hard bc I was conditioned my whole life to be afraid to speak up & often when I try, I’ll stop mid sentence or say 1thing & stop when that’s just the beginning of the story so I have that working against me.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts about my chances of “getting on” from what I’ve shared but I know it’s hard to say.
    I really just wanted to thank you and tell you how beautiful your site is. 💖


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