Obtain information about the claimant’s ADLs to determine the functional effects of the physical and/or mental impairment(s) on the claimant’s ability to work.
1. ADLs with mental impairment allegations
ADLs are important in developing claims involving mental impairments, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Adjudicators should be alert to the possibility of PTSD and TBI conditions even if they are not alleged. For information on developing claims involving mental impairments, refer to the following sections:
•DI 34001.032 Mental Disorders,
•DI 24583.005 Evaluating Mental Impairments Using the Psychiatric Review Technique (PRT)
2. ADLs with physical impairment allegations
ADLs are particularly useful in assessing how well a claimant with a traumatic injury is functioning at the time of the disability determination. For claims involving amputations(s), adjudicators should fully document the claimant’s ability or inability to use prosthetic devices effectively.
For additional information when developing ADLs with physical impairment allegations, refer to Evaluating Lay Evidence in DI 24515.012.
3. Third-party ADLs
The development of third-party ADLs is highly encouraged in all cases, especially those involving mental impairments and traumatic injuries. For guidance, see the following sections:
•DI 22511.011 Contacting Claimants and Collateral Sources,
•DI 22511.007 Sources of Evidence, and
•DI 22511.013 Technical Requirements When Securing Collateral Evidence.