September 8, 2010

Describing The Pain You Are Experiencing At Your Social Security Disability Hearing

Indianapolis Attorney Scott Lewis often finds himself talking to his clients in depth about the pain they are experiencing.  Describing your pain in detail may help a Social Security disability client win their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.  Other than your medical records and possibly a medical expert, the only other information an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at your disability appeal may be able to rely on is your testimony.  With that in mind, disability lawyer Scott Lewis believes it is very important to describe the pain you feel as accurately as you possibly can.

Different Social Security disability claimants experience and tolerate pain at varying levels.  Due to the subjective nature of pain, it may be difficult to explain to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and make them understand how painful your condition is.  Many physical conditions can cause pain including back problems, fibromyalgia, diabetes, migraine headaches, COPD, heart problems, and other conditions.  A Social Security disability claimant may experience pain from not one physical condition, but a combination of physical conditions.

Many times at a Social Security disability hearing, Indiana Attorney Scott Lewis will ask his disability clients questions to help them better explain the pain they experience.  For example:

Where do you feel the pain?  If you experience pain in your back and it radiates down your legs, you should let the SSA know the exact location of your pain.

What does the pain feel like?  If it is a sharp, dull, or burning sensation, you should describe it in as much detail as possible. Many times, Attorney Scott Lewis may ask his Indiana disability clients to describe the pain they experience on a zero to ten scale.  Zero being no pain and ten being pain so severe they must go to the hospital.

How often do you feel the pain?  Is it hourly, daily, weekly, etc.?

How long does the pain last?  Does the pain come and go, or does it last throughout the entire day?

Is there anything that makes the pain better or worse?  Do medications help alleviate the pain?  Does it help to lie down?

Does the pain affect your activities of daily living?  Is it too painful to sit, stand, walk for even short periods of time?  Are you able to do household chores such as laundry, cleaning, wash dishes, and cook?  Are you unable to leave your house due to the pain you experience?

Attorney Scott Lewis believes it is important for his Indiana Social Security disability appeal clients to know that it may make a big difference to answer questions fully concerning their disabilities.  Many times a simple yes or no answer may not be enough to help inform an ALJ to understand how you experience pain.  Most disability appeal hearings are only 45 minutes long, and walking out of the hearing room without explaining the pain you experience may be a mistake.

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