If you are seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both, one of the most important parts of your case is the medical evidence. One of the tips we give our clients is to THINK when you visit your doctor, psychologist, therapist, etc. The people providing you with care take notes of what you say. The things you say can help your case quite a lot. Examples are discussions about pain, medication side effects, etc. That is, when you testify at your hearing about pain or medication side effects, it strengthens your case to have those same problems documented in the records of your medical provider.
We frequently see examples of things people tell their physicians that do not help. When a physician asks how a patient is doing, and the patient says “fine, how are you”, the physician’s notes generally reflect that. While the patient may just be making conversation, thinking “I wouldn’t be here unless I really needed help”, the treatment note that the judge reads frequently says “patient had no complaints”. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that the medical provider’s notes will reflect what you say.
Other unhelpful examples we have seen in medical records may concern references to hunting, fishing, 4-wheeling, vacations, gardening, etc. When you testify at the hearing, you will probably be asked about your daily activities, and how your disabilities affect your life. If your testimony in court is that you are very limited in your activities and interests, but the medical records describe someone with an active life, the judge is more likely to believe what you told your medical provider.
Your medical evidence should be the strength of your case, not the weakness in your case. So, be sure to THINK. Your medical records should detail how your disability affects your daily activities, and thus your ability to work. If you have pain, medication side effects, limitations affecting your standing, sitting, lifting, bending, or your ability to stay awake or concentrate, your medical records need to reflect your symptoms.
At Byron A. Lassiter & Associates, P.C., we work closely with our clients, to develop the medical evidence proving disability. If you are interested in speaking to someone in our firm, we have a NO FEE/ FREE consultation. Please call us Toll Free at 1-800-544-3568, or in our Mobile, Alabama office at (251) 478-5297, or our Pensacola, Florida number, (850) 479-3552.