People can get caught up in the medical evidence part of a disability case and forget that there are other important factors the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) looks at when deciding whether to award benefits. Besides your medical history, the SSA will look at your credibility and the consistency of your complaints when evaluating your disability case.
It is important that the SSA sees you as a credible person when you have a disability case. In determining whether you are credible, the SSA decision makers will look at several things. They will look at your behavior in seeking relief for your symptoms. They will also look at the frequency and nature of your doctor visits and your response to treatment. They will also see if you have any activities that are limited by your pain. Do not be surprised if they review your medical records to see if your treating doctors have said anything about your credibility.
When they review the consistency of your complaints, they will take the long view and see if they are consistent over a period of time. They will review your medical records to see if you are consistent in what you tell your treating doctors. It will stand out if you tell one doctor one thing and another doctor something different. This sort of thing does not look good and will require an explanation. An example of a valid explanation is that your symptoms have changed over time.
One of the other areas that your disability attorney can help to flesh out in your case is whether you have any psychological distress due to your back pain. Often, applicants develop psychological distress because of chronic back pain and this can cause a lot of complications. It can cause a person to avoid exercise, physical activity and other activities that could actually help them. Your disability attorney should look for medical evidence of any psychological distress that has affected your disability and your level of pain.
For more information about Social Security disability claims, I invite you to read through the rest of this website and to order a FREE copy of my book, Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims. If you need help with your disability claim, contact my office today at 800-218-7062.