How Would You Describe Pain To a Disability Judge?

Submitted by pec on

Many who seek Social Security disability benefits struggle with conditions that cause significant pain. If you’re seeking disability benefits, there may be a time when you need to describe the nature of your pain to a disability judge. This is particularly likely if your pain negatively impacts your ability to work.

It’s important to answer an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) questions about your pain accurately during a disability hearing. It’s also important not to exaggerate. This guide will help you understand how to strike the right balance.

How to describe your pain

Try to be as descriptive as possible when talking to a judge about your pain. Details to focus on include:

  • How your pain feels (i.e. throbbing, dull, sharp, tender, etc.)
  • How often you experience pain and whether you experience it more significantly during certain times of day
  • What parts of your body your pain affects
  • Whether any additional symptoms accompany your pain (i.e. sweating, appetite problems, swelling, stiffness, etc.)

It’s also vital during a disability hearing to explain how your pain affects your life. The following are just some examples of details you might provide:

  • Your pain prevents you from standing or sitting comfortably for more than X minutes/hours at a time
  • Your pain prevents you from comfortably taking more than X steps before needing to rest
  • Your pain severely limits your ability to perform X task

A disability judge might also ask you to describe your pain on a scale from 1 to 10. Again, while you shouldn’t downplay the severity of your pain, you also shouldn’t lie about its severity in an effort to boost your odds of receiving disability benefits.

Proving Your Pain

Anyone can tell a disability judge that they struggle with pain. This doesn’t mean they are always telling the truth.

As such, during a disability hearing, you will likely have to provide medical evidence of your pain. Examples of such evidence may include:

  • CAT scan results
  • MRI results
  • A residual functioning capacity (RFC)
  • A statement from a qualified medical professional

It’s also worth noting that your evidence shouldn’t merely indicate that you experience or have experienced pain on occasion. You need to show that you struggle with pain on a relatively continuous or consistent basis, and that your pain interferes with your ability to work.

Get Connected With an Attorney

Don’t worry if the process of securing the evidence you need to prove your pain to a disability judge intimidates you. This isn’t a task you need to handle on your own. A Social Security disability lawyer can help you gather the necessary evidence, explain to you how you may describe your pain, and even provide representation during your disability hearing. Their help can ease your burdens while you cope with your pain.

Finding a Social Security disability attorney to handle your case also doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help with your case.

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