A common reason for referral is to determine a client's eligibility for certain kinds of benefits available from the State and other programs based on their status as disabled. This often involves assessment of ADL or Activities of Daily Living. During the interview with the client and people who know the client, keep the following questions in mind:

Living Independently

  • Do they live on their own? Could they do so?

Aid in Daily Life

  • dressing (putting on clothes, buttoning and tying, dressing for the weather)
  • shopping (making a list, transportation, balancing a diet, budgeting spending, handling money, making change)
  • cooking (snacks, simple meals without cooking, cooking with a microwave, cooking on a stove under supervision, cooking without any supervision)
  • grooming (needs prompting for all care, needs physical help, able to brush teeth etc... without reminding but needs some physical assistance, independently able to care for self)
  • cleaning (none, personal responsibilities like making bed and putting away possession, light housework like sweeping and dusting, heavy housework like scrubbing and yardwork, all cleaning)
  • and complying with medication, diet, or exercise regimen

Needed Services

  • Meals on Wheels
  • sheltered workshops
  • day treatment services
  • social contact
  • vocational rehabilitation

Occupational Skills

  • Can they relate to coworkers, supervisors, and the public in a job setting? Can they accept instruction and feedback, and interact appropriately with others?
  • Can they understand, remember, and carry out a variety of job instructions with some supervision?
  • Can they understand, remember, and carry out on their own simple instructions (1 or 2 steps), complex instructions (more than 3 steps), and very complex instructions (more than 3 steps and of a technical or detailed nature requiring some decision making on the spot)?
  • Can they maintain attention and concentration for two hour periods?
  • Can they withstand the stresses of an 8 hour workday and day to day work activities?
  • Can they manage money, make change, budget money, spend wisely, and deposit checks responsibly?
  • What is their prognosis; will they always be so, or could services improve their skills?
  • Are there any medical problems, or side-effects of medications, that would impair their work ability?

Interaction with Community

  • They have trouble making decisions about good people to accept as friends, finding safe places to "hang out," and getting involved in healthy activities. With support and guidance, however, they can do so.
  • They associate with "unsavory types," or with people they later do illegal things with. They have conflicts with the neighbors and landlords, run-ins with the police and agency staff, and fights with others including strangers, friends, and family. They are resistant to support and guidance.
  • They are able to make good friends, decisions about their safety, and choices in where they go and what they do.

Final Determination

  • Unable to care for self due to mental or physical reasons
  • Able to care for self doing simple things under supervision, but need a high or low level of supervised care for complex things
  • Able to care for self doing simple things with or without some reminding, but need help for complex things
  • Able to care for self independently

Here are some useful areas to evaluate from the Daniel J. Memorial Institute Questionnaire.

Money Management

  • Has an understanding of the difference between "luxuries" and "necessities"
  • Understands how to create a monthly budget
  • Understands the difference between gross wage and take-home pay
  • Shows some sales resistance to "something for nothing" advertising and "low weekly payment" credit plan
  • Knows where to obtain a money order, knows not to pay bills with cash by mail, and knows money orders and checks can be used as receipts
  • Can open a checking or savings account, write checks, make withdrawals and deposits, and make banking transactions and record transactions. Can read monthly bank statements
  • Understands the responsibility of filing federal and state tax forms, and the information required for filing taxes
  • Understands buying on credit, loans, interest and late payment penalties

Food Management

  • Can fix breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Can prepare and purchase items on the grocery list
  • Recognizes food items that need refrigeration, those that may be placed in a pantry, signs of spoilage, and the dates on food packages to prevent spoilage
  • Can plan, shop, and prepare weekly menu of nutritious meals within a budget


  • Can wash dishes adequately using soap and hot water
  • Knows how to sweep floors and stairs, wash windows, wash wood and linoleum floors, dust, clean the toilet, clean a bathtub and sink, and use appropriate cleaning products to use for different cleaning jobs
  • Knows how to dispose of garbage in a sanitary manner
  • Knows how to stop the toilet from running and how to use a plunger to unstop a toilet or sink
  • Knows how to conserve energy and water (e.g., air conditioning, heating, lights, hot water, etc.)


  • Knows amount of money required for bus fare and can make a solitary trip on public transportation
  • Knows what is required to get a driver's license
  • If given instructions, can make a public transportation journey involving several transfers, and knows where to obtain monthly bus passes
  • Can arrange routine transportation to work or school
  • Can read a city or state road map and give directions

Educational Planning

  • Has a realistic view of his or her chances for completing high school and/or seeking higher education
  • If high school graduation is not realistic, understands what a GED is and how to obtain one
  • Can discuss educational/vocational plans with teachers/counselor. Has a general idea of what job he or she wants, understands educational requirements, and has appropriate educational plans
  • Knows when and when not to talk with co-workers
  • Knows appropriate way to talk to supervisor
  • Has a plan for handling anger toward supervisor, co-workers, or customers
  • Knows legal rights as an employee

Emergency And Safety Skills

  • Knows functions of police, ambulance, and fire department, and can reach each by calling appropriate number
  • Is trained to evacuate in case of fire, and knows how to lock and unlock doors and windows
  • Understands basic fire prevention (e.g., no smoking in bed, use of the gas stove to heat, excessive use of extension cords, and improper use of appliances)
  • Knows how to check smoke alarm and how to replace battery
  • Can recognize the smell of a gas leak, and knows what to do and whom to call
  • Knows how to use a fire extinguisher and the different methods for putting out different kinds of fires
  • Can usually determine when professional medical help is needed

Knowledge Of Community Resources

  • Knows how to get information by telephone. Can use the Yellow Pages to obtain information
  • Knows where the nearest laundromat is located
  • Knows whom to contact if lost, frightened, depressed, anxious, sick, injured, out of food and money, utilities are disconnected, or heat is turned off
  • Can obtain a copy of birth certificate and duplicate Social Security card
  • Has awareness of "specialized" resources, such as mental health counseling, consumer counseling, VD clinics, student aid offices, tenant groups, animal control, public recreation, etc.
  • Knows legal penalties for buying, possessing, selling, and using drugs; buying and drinking alcohol while under age; trespassing, shoplifting, or burglary; possession of stolen property; traffic violations


  • Understands the concept of renting and knows the role of the landlord
  • Understands basic terms. Can read classified ads for vacancies
  • Can calculate the costs associated with different types of housing. Can calculate "start up" costs (e.g., utility deposits, connection fees, security deposits, first month's rent, purchase of furniture and other household items)
  • Can complete a rental application with a basic understanding of information required
  • Knows to inspect the apartment to make sure appliances work and that the landlord has supplied accurate information about the apartment and neighborhood