does anyone know about what this term means in regards to disability and mental illness to "function in society"?
Federal Crime Lawyer
This is a very tricky question and more context is necessary to provide you with the most accurate answer.
At it's most basic, "function in Society" basically means that a person can be self-sufficient, live independently, and not pose a threat to themselves or others. In other words, a person who can "function in society" is able to obtain and hold a job, is able to take care of his finances (i.e. pay the electricity bill, pay the cable bill, deposit money at the bank, not overdraw the account, etc...), and who won't hurt themselves or others.
Again, it really depends on context. So just because someone can't find a job or hold a job doesn't necessarily mean they can't function in society, but it is a starting point especially if they can find a job but not hold it.
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Criminal Defense Attorney
Not possilbe to answer out of context, and my collleague has provided a good definition. A principle to keep in mind is that courts, when dealing with an individual who has some capacity limits, should attempt to meet those needs without stripping the individual of more freedom than is minimally necessary. For example, if a person is able to maintain daily living, but cannot keep the checkbook and bills straight, then provision of (even mandating of) a bill paying service can address that aspect of functioning in society without being more invasive. I am not sure where you are headed, or if I am at all on track, but see a local attorney with the exact situation and see if it can be clarified.
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Health Care Lawyer
I suspect this falls into the category of, "I can't define it but know it when I see it."
I am licensed in New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and therefore any discussion of issues related to other states must considered within that context. In addition, my comments are not intended to create a legal representation but merely to respond to the limited facts presented by the question. Any opinion herein is not meant as a precise statement of legal rights or as a recommendation of any particular course of action. A more complete legal review can be obtained through local counsel.