When I start a claim for any one of my clients seeking Social Security disability benefits, I always send them a checklist to better prepare them for what the Social Security Administration will require. Most take this checklist quite serious, while some sadly do not.
Social Security has established rules for when the administration will approve a claim for benefits. One of the very first things a claims examiner will look for is whether or not the claimant has the proper medical evidence to back-up his or her subjective statements about their condition.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations, it is very specific as to how the administration will evaluate a person's symptoms as well as his or her pain:
Under Section 404.1529, it states, "In determining whether you are disabled, we consider all your symptoms, including pain, and the extent to which your symptoms can reasonably be accepted as consistent with the objective medical evidence and other evidence....However, statements about your pain or other symptoms will not alone establish that you are disabled; there must be medical signs and laboratory findings which show that you have a medical impairment(s) which could reasonably be expected to produce the pain or other symptoms alleged..."
So, to help you better understand what exactly Social Security is looking for in your disability claim, there must not only be your own statements about how your conditions limit your ability to work, but also medical records to further establish your impairment.
Here are some things that should come from you: (1) your own statements or reports, or those from your doctors or other sources; (2) statements about your daily activities; (3) efforts in the past where you tried to work but were unsuccessful; and (4) statements from others which show how your symptoms affect your daily activities and your ability to work.
However, along with the above things that will help your case, you will also need thorough medical records that show your medical conditions which could reasonably provide evidence which proves the kind of pain or other symptoms you are alleging.
Social Security will then take all of this into consideration in determining whether or not you are able to do either one of the jobs you have done in the past or whether or not you would be able to do some other type of job within the national economy.
Solution: Make sure you are going to a doctor or hospital at least once every three months. Make sure you fully describe all of your pain or symptoms to the doctor or nurse and ask that they fully record these issues in your medical records. Let your doctor know you are unable to work and ask him or her to help you provide the kind of medical evidence you need to prove your claim. One of the issues that often plagues a disability case is that the claimant does not let their doctor know he or she is filing for disability and the medical records are not sufficient enough for a claims examiner to make a determination with the medical evidence provided.
Think of it this way: If you were going into any other court you know you have to have enough evidence so the judge can rule in your favor. Why would it be any different for your Social Security disability claim? Even if you hire an attorney to help you, he or she is not a miracle worker. There must be sufficient medical evidence to prove the pain or symptoms you say you have.