Evidence for a Social Security Disability Case
So you have worked your entire life, paid into the system, stayed out of trouble and as you got older you developed severe back pain from the heavy lifting you did at work. You have surgery. Your back still hurts. You take pain medication and your orthopedic surgeon tells you at 53 that you can no longer work. What next? You have a few months of savings at best as you didn’t expect to stop working until 66. You sound very much like many of our Social Security Disability Clients.
What evidence does Social Security need to review and find to determine whether you are disabled?
Social Security reviews your medical records and considers the objective medical finding like x-rays and the doctor’s finding during you examination. They will also consider subjective findings which are more difficult to determine.
Once an underlying physical or mental impairment that could reasonably be expected to cause pain is shown by medically acceptable objective evidence, such as clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques, the adjudicator must evaluate the disability effects of a disability claimant’s pain, even though it’s intensity or severity is shown only by subjective evidence. If an underlying impairment capable of causing pain is shown, subjective evidence of the pain, it’s intensity or degree can, by itself, support a finding of disability. Objective medical evidence of pain, it’s intensity or degree (i.e. manifestations of the functional effects of pain such as deteriorating nerve or muscle tissue, muscle spasm or sensory or motor disruption), if available, should be obtained and considered. Because pain is not readily susceptible to objective proof, however the absence of objective medical evidence of the intensity, severity, degree or functional effective pain is not determinative. Hyatt v. Sullivan, 899 F.2d 329 (4th Cir. 1990) and SSR 90-1p
This makes it important that you let your doctor know what your symptoms are on every visit. Social Security will also consider your reports of how your condition limits your activities. Under 20 CFR §404.1529(c) and 416.929(c) Social Security will consider such things as the following:
1. The individual’s daily activities;
2. The location, duration, frequency and intensity of the individuals pain or other symptoms;
3. Factors that precipitate and aggravate the symptoms;
4. The type, dosage, effectiveness and side effects of any medication individual takes or have taken to alleviate pain or other symptoms;
5. Treatment, other than medication, the individual receives or has received for relief of pain or other symptoms;
6. Any measures other than treatment the individual uses or has used to relieve pain or other symptoms (e.g., lying flat on his or her back, standing for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or sleeping on the board); and
7. Any other factors concerning the individual’s functional limitations and restrictions due to pain or other symptoms.
So it can be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms. Especially in cases like migraines that do not occur daily. It is also helpful if you share with your doctor how your condition limits your activities at home and they types of things you do to try to get relief.
Therefore, you have paid into the system, worked hard and now need to file for disability. From our Raleigh or Eastern NC offices we can help you with your application for Social Security Disability.