Conditions like chronic pain syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, memory problems, and shortness of breath are very real conditions that can certainly keep you from working. However, unlike other conditions, these types of conditions are very hard to measure with medical testing. An MRI can easily show the severity of somebody’s degenerative disc disease but there is no test that measures pain. Somebody suffering from one of these conditions can have all their medical testing come back normal which doesn’t paint a picture of what is going on. So the question remains, how do I show Social Security how my pain is affecting my ability to work?
Proving Your Pain on your SSDI Claim
When evaluating pain symptoms, Social Security is going to look at a couple of different areas. First, what is your day to day life like? Are you able to make yourself dinner or do you have to have somebody do that for you? What part of your body are you experiencing pain? How long and how severe are your symptoms? What causes your symptoms to worsen? What medications are you taking? What are the side effects of those medications? Are you following your doctor’s recommendations?
Honesty is Key
Because there is no definitive proof you are in pain, your credibility is the number one factor that can make or break your claim. If the judge thinks you are lying about or exaggerating your symptoms getting approved for SSDI benefits is going to be extremely difficult. That is why it is important to be completely honest at all times. Make sure you are consistent in describing your condition. It is also important to make sure you give details about how the pain affects your day to day life without exaggerating or over inflated language.
Keep a Journal
A simple thing you can do that can help your claim is to keep a pain journal. We recommend keeping a day to day accounting about how the pain, medications, and treatment is affecting you. If you took your pain medication and became to woozy to get dressed mention that. If your shoulder was hurting so bad that you couldn’t put your bra on mention that. Again make sure your journal is honest and does not exaggerate anything.
Listen To Your Doctor
It is important to follow your doctors recommendations just as closely as possible. If the judge thinks you are non compliant with the doctor for any reason, the judge may form the opinion that if you were doing what your doctor said you would be just fine and therefore deny you. If you are doing everything you can to be able to function but still cannot work it is a much more convincing argument.
Hire a Disability Lawyer
Having a disability lawyer who is able to guide you through the application process as well as the hearing can make or break your claim. If you cannot work give our office a call. There is $0 up front and we only accept fees if we are able to get you benefits.