Hi, I am Sharon Christie, your nurse attorney for Social Security Disability Benefits. Today I want to talk about a specific condition called lupus and how you can win a case for Social Security Disability Benefits if you suffer from lupus. I work with many lupus patients and have seen firsthand the problems that they suffer from including very frequently severe pain, fatigue, cognitive issues commonly known as brain fog, and lupus flares. The challenge for a lupus patient is that as you well know if you suffer from the condition you are not sure day to day how you will feel. You may get up this morning and you feel pretty good and you may be able to be active all day long but you cannot predict how you will feel tomorrow and that is really what interferes with your ability to work.
One of the big challenges that we face is documenting the frequency of your flare-ups. Now how do you do that? The first thing you have to do is make sure that you are talking to your doctor regularly about the problems that you have and how frequently they occur. What I see very frequently in medical records is something like this. A client has been a patient of Dr. Smith for many years being treated for lupus and over time I will see in the medical records these statements patients in here today for a checkup, she says she is fine. She says she is okay.
Now let me stop you right there. You and that may be true on that particular day, perhaps you do feel great you feel fine, but I know from working with so many lupus patients that that generally is not the case. Typically what has happened is your condition is unchanged. You feel the same this month as you did last month when you saw the doctor. Well, that is what you need to say. You don’t want to say oh I am okay or I feel fine. You want to be much more descriptive. You want to tell the doctor my condition is the same or it is better, or it is worse, and if it is worse or better either one you want to be very specific in what way it is better or worse. You want to give your doctor as many examples as you can of the limitations that you have. So for example if you are now having a problem being able to get up and down stairs because you are in so much pain you want to tell the doctor that, or if you are having a problem with your memory. So that you now have to leave post-it notes around the house, or maybe you have to get a calendar which you never had to do before. You have to write down all of your appointments and your medications and when you need to take them or if you need some type of assistive device or alarm to remind you to take medications. You want to tell your doctor that all of these changes that you are seeing.
Well I know they are difficult to deal with become very important as far as having them documented in your medical records because Social Security and ultimately a judge is going to look very closely at those records to find out what symptoms you have reported to the doctor and are those the same kind of symptoms that you are reporting to the judge at your hearing. So remember you want to be very descriptive. I tell my clients you might want to keep a log of the problems that you are having as new problems crop up. You want to make sure you note that and be descriptive as possible.
About Sharon Christie Law:
Sharon Christie is the owner and founder of Sharon Christie Law, and is an attorney and former nurse. Her team of professionals and paraprofessionals help people win Social Security Disability Benefits! Our Social Security Disability Law Firm serves clients in Maryland, Southern Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC.