How the SSA Defines Symptoms

Chicago Social Security disability lawyer - Man With Neck PainIf you are applying for Social Security disability, you will need to fully understand what the system defines as “symptoms.” A Chicago Social Security disability lawyer can help you fully express how you feel, and the best methods of describing your symptoms to a judge.

Very simply, symptoms are how you feel. You are the best person in the world to describe how you feel. You will need to specifically describe to the judge specifically how you feel about the following:

  • Where you hurt;
  • When you hurt;
  • If you are short of breath;
  • If you are dizzy; and
  • If you are fatigued

Keep in mind that these symptoms are what is keeping you from working. The exact name or label of your condition, like arthritis or a hernia, is not why you can’t work. The exact symptoms are why you can’t work.

If a judge asks why you can’t work, a Chicago Social Security disability lawyer advises you not to say “because I have a hernia.” Many people with milder versions of your condition can work, so the name of your condition does not help the judge understand what you are experiencing. The judge needs to know the severity of your pain and what other symptoms you may be experiencing.

Another way to help the judge understand your condition is to specifically describe what your symptoms feel like. Keep the following in mind:

  • The nature of your pain;
  • The intensity of your pain;
  • The location of your pain;
  • If the pain travels to different parts of your body;
  • How often you have pain;
  • How often the pain lasts;
  • How it changes from day to day; and
  • If anything triggers your pain

When you describe your symptoms to the judge, tell the truth. Do not exaggerate. If you do testify about excruciating pain and the medical records do not back up your claim, the judge may not believe you. Also, if you are in as severe pain as you describe, the judge may wonder how you even made it to the hearing.

Here are some words to avoid when describing your pain, or be very careful and accurate, when you use them:

  • Extreme;
  • Excruciating;
  • Always in pain;
  • Constantly in pain; and
  • Never any relief from pain.

Also, do not be brave and minimize your symptoms. If you say that your symptoms are not so bad, the judge will accept your word for it and rule that you are not disabled.

Contact A Chicago Social Security Disability Lawyer

The best advice you can get from a Chicago Social Security disability lawyer is to describe your symptoms exactly as they are, without exaggeration or minimization.

For more information on the best way to accurately describe your symptoms, contact Daley Disability Law at 312-561-3030.

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