Why your credibility is crucial in proving pain and other symptoms; Olympia Social Security lawyer explains

As an experienced Olympia disability attorney, I know that many of my clients are unable to work because of troubling symptoms, like chronic pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, and memory problems. But convincing the Social Security Administration that your symptoms are disabling is difficult because symptoms are difficult to measure. A person can suffer from intense and persistent symptoms even when his or her medical tests and exams indicate a relatively mild abnormality.

Your statements about how significantly your symptoms have affected your life are key evidence. You must be a credible witness on your own behalf.

Factors considered

In evaluating the intensity and persistence of your symptoms and their effect on your ability to work, the Social Security Administration will consider:

  • What activities you engage in on a daily basis.
  • Where in your body you experience your symptoms, how long they last, how often they occur, and how intense they are.
  • What brings on or aggravates the symptoms.
  • The medications you have taken to alleviate your symptoms, whether they are effective, and what side effects they cause.
  • Other treatments you have received for your symptoms and the results of those treatments.
  • Other measures you have tried for relief, such as home remedies like sleeping on a board, and the like.
  • Any other factors that may be relevant about your limitations and restrictions due to pain or other symptoms.

Three things you can do to enhance your credibility

To increase the likelihood that the disability examiner or administrative law judge will believe what you say about your symptoms, you should:

  • Be honest and consistent in describing your symptoms.
  • Keep a symptom journal.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations.

Be honest and consistent

Describe your symptoms as accurately as you can. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms or your limitations, but don’t understate them either. Describe them with enough detail to show how they affect your daily activities and your ability to work.

The disability examiner or administrative law judge will look for any inconsistencies in your statements and conflicts between your statements and the rest of the evidence. If you have contradicted yourself, the disability examiner or administrative law judge may not believe you.

Keep a symptom journal

A symptom journal is a good way to keep a record of your symptoms and their effect on your daily activities. A written record will prepare you to testify about your symptoms in detail at your hearing. Since it may take a long time to get a hearing date, you may have trouble remembering the specifics if you don’t make a written record. Your Olympia disability lawyer can offer you some advice about how to keep a symptom journal.

Follow treatment recommendations

If you don’t follow your doctor’s treatment plan, the disability examiner or administration law judge may decide that your symptoms must not be that bad after all. If they were, you would certainly try everything possible to lessen them.

Help is available from an Olympia Social Security lawyer

If your pain or other symptoms are interfering with your ability to work, consider consulting an experienced Olympia disability lawyer. If you are not already represented by a Social Security disability lawyer and would like an evaluation of your case, please describe your claim using the form on this page, and we will respond promptly. Or you may phone or email us.

Law Office of Eitan Kassel Yanich, PLLC
Olympia disability lawyers

203 Fourth Avenue E.
Suite 321
Olympia, Washington 98501