What’s One of the Most Important Things I Can Do for My Disability Case?

You might be thinking, “I’m being honest about my injuries and my doctor thinks I’m disabled, isn’t that all the proof Social Security needs?”

Social Security Administration will not take your statements about your pain and symptoms (such as fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety, frequency of seizures, depression) as conclusive evidence you are disabled. Your doctor’s opinion does matter, but you must first have proof of a medical diagnosis with supportive testing. For most, that is the easy part.

Then Social Security Administration considers the credibility of your statements about the intensity and persistence of your symptoms. Social Security Administration looks for inconsistencies in the records and your statements.

Records they often review:

- Your work history
- Your legal history
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Your answers on the multiple duplicate forms you completed
- Statements you made to your healthcare providers
- Statements you made to staff at Social Security Administration offices

The rules allow the judge to use “ordinary techniques of credibility evaluation.” Judges often reject credibility because they find your daily activities greater than your stated limitations. They compare your statements about pain and symptoms to your daily household activities, recreation activities, frequency or distance of travel, or vacations in the rejection of your statements.

In addition, Social Security Administration looks for inconsistencies with your work, such as the reasons you gave for your job ending. They consider legal history. They can look to frequent missed or cancelled medical appointments or medication non-compliance to reject credibility.

We know that dealing with doctors, Social Security and its many forms and deadlines, and preparing for a hearing before a judge on top of your pain and injuries can be really tough. But just like consistency in your care and treatment, consistency in you records is essential!

As always, Taylor and Associates is here to help with any questions you have.

20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1529, 416.929

SSR 96-7p