Time and time again I have spoken to Claimants who have a case pending for disability benefits and believe if they can only speak to the judge about how their conditions make them feel, then they will be approved for Social Security disability benefits.
This could not be further from the truth.
First, it is essential that you have complete and up to date medical records. In addition, these records need to adequately explain your condition or conditions and how they relate to your ability to be gainfully employed. That is why it is so important that you do your very best to see the Dr. on a consistent basis and you make sure your records are complete by the time your hearing is scheduled. Most of the time Claimants are required to wait close to a year before their hearing date, so there should be no reason why your medical records should not be complete.
Second, your medical records need to essentially tell a story as to how your condition(s) affect your ability to work. Try and work with your Dr. to help you do this. Sadly, by the time most people have to apply for disability benefits, they have run through their entire savings and have little if any money. They are required (basically by default) to seek medical care through a county hospital emergency room. While the Dr.'s there are usually superb, there is not a one on one relationship patients are able to establish as if they were seeing an individual physician.
Be that as it may, try and establish a relationship with a particular Dr. (hopefully one that specializes in your own medical problems) and attempt to have him or her further explain to Social Security how these issues that he or she is treating affects your ability to work.
Unless your medical condition(s) meet a listing Social Security provides, you must show how your condition affects your ability to work. Further, there is a very strict definition that must be met in order to determine if you are in fact disabled. Especially in Step 5, there must be a showing that you cannot adjust to any other type of work. While the burden here is on Social Security to show there are other jobs you are capable of performing, in all reality the burden lies on you because there are usually jobs available you could perform. For example, many people are told they could be a Silver Wrapper -that's an actual job in the national economy that many people are told they are capable of performing.
So, if the burden is really on you to show how your conditions limit your ability to do something else, given your age, education, and work skills that you acquired in the past, then you must do so. For example, you must show (through your medical records) that you are unable to stand or walk for more than 2 hours during the day, you do not have full use of your hands, you must lie down during the day and rest, etc.
These are the kinds of things that would make you unable to have a full time job -and yes, even as a Silver Wrapper.