What Does Social Security Consider to be “Maintaining Social Functioning”?
One of the requirements in several Social Security listings is the inability to maintain social functioning. Like many other words used by the Social Security Administration, the words are not easily defined and can be quite confusing.
In this instance, Social Security uses “maintaining social functioning” to get an idea of your capacity to interact and communicate appropriately and effectively with other individuals, including family members, friends, neighbors, grocery store clerks, and even bus drivers.
When determining whether you are able to maintain social functioning, the adjudicators will review your file for any evidence of: altercations, fights, evictions, firings, fear of strangers, avoidance of interpersonal relationships (i.e., boyfriend, spouse, etc.), and social isolation.
If your testimony and evidence show that you are able to initiate social contact with others, communicate clearly, and participate in group activities, it is likely that no social functioning deficit will be found. However, if your medical evidence and testimony show that you are antagonistic, uncooperative, hostile (including with authority), but is tolerated in your daily life because you surround yourself with others who understand you, you may still have marked restrictions in social functioning because that behavior would not be accepted in other social contexts.