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Why Can't You Work?

April 2, 2020

I have, to date, in every Hearing, observed the Administrative Law Judge's unwavering interest in a Claimant's case.

When asking this sort of question, what the judge may be interested in knowing is “How well are you doing, now that it's been 12 months or more since your diagnosis?” or “What are your symptoms?”

Translation: “How do you feel?”

This discussion is not exhaustive, nor should it be construed as legal advice, but rather to suppose ideas to get you to think about your situation before applying.

Precisely documented medical records are great, and you may have any one of these diseases. But really, what are your symptoms? Why do these prevent you from working, and even a little at that? You know yourself better than anyone else, and only you would be able to discuss how these interfere with your abilities.

You know where your pain is, how long it lasts, such as how many times a day or during a week. If you suffer with vertigo, shortness of breath and low energy, is it daily, or a few weeks without symptoms? How long does it last?

The mental and physical severity of your symptoms is important. It wouldn't be uncommon if there were problems with concentration, you were distracted or forgetful even nervous? How does the severity limit you? How do you find relief after onset? What makes it worse? Discuss how the pain or condition starts and how long it lasts at a time. Is it a 10, 5 or 3 on a scale of 1-10?

How about walking? How far? How many times do you have to stop, and what happens if you don't stop? How long can you sit? Can you wash dishes? How long can you stand? What happens to you if you overdo it. Details matter with a full and frank explanation.

Your medical records are going to back up what you say. If there are inconsistencies, you will be required to clarify. Be exact as possible when you are filling out your forms and when talking to the judge, to help the trier of fact better assess your impairment. You really need to know yourself during this process. Go over your forms especially ahead of time before filing, with the ones who are closest to you, when answering these questions. Count how many times an event happens, the length of time and the distance it may take, for example.

It amazes me how people try to navigate the Social Security disability process by themselves. We're here to help and we don't charge any fee unless you are successful.

This blog is intended for information purposes only and does not establish legal representation or financial guidance.