MERIDIAN, ID – Our Meridian Disability Lawyers understand that in order to be found disabled under Social Security Disability guidelines, you must have a medically determinable impairment and limitations severe enough to prevent you from working. The focus of this article is the importance of credibility in establishing your limitations. For more information on what a medically determinable impairment is, please see “Medically Determinable Impairments.”
If you are wondering if your limitations are sufficient to qualify you for disability, you should contact a Social Security disability attorney. Make sure it is a disability lawyer as not all lawyers understand disability law. If a social security attorney wants to charge you more than 25% of your back payments or wants a retainer—they are not the attorney for you. Make sure you contact actual disability lawyers and NOT a non-lawyer representative—whoever you contact, ask if they are a licensed disability lawyer. A non-lawyer hasn’t had any legal training, and they charge the same as disability lawyers, so why would you not use a real social security lawyer?
Meridian Disability Lawyers – How Social Security Evaluates Credibility
Because your credibility is so critical to your disability application, it is well worthwhile to take a look at the factors Social Security looks at to determine if they will believe what you are saying. These are mostly common sense types of things, but unless you take a moment to think about them, you may inadvertently say or do things that create the impression that you are less than trustworthy.
Your credibility is all you have when establishing symptoms such as pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, anxiety or nervousness, etc. Social Security has established a two step process for evaluating your credibility: 1) they look at whether your symptoms are similar to those that would be expected from someone with your condition and with your objective medical evidence, and 2) the judge will look at and evaluate the credibility of your statements regarding the intensity, persistence and limiting
effects of your condition.
The adjudicator must consider whether there is an underlying medically determinable impairment that could reasonably cause the pain you are complaining of. “Medically determinable” means that you condition can be demonstrated by MRI, Xray, lab results or objective clinical evidence. For example, if you are complaining of back pain, it is extremely helpful to have an MRI that shows your nerves in your back are compressed and would likely be causing you severe pain. If there is no medically determinable
impairment, or the if the symptoms you are complaining of can not reasonably be expected come from your medically determinable impairment, then the rules say that you cannot be found disabled. (As a practical matter, judges rarely decide there is not medically determinable impairment and instead look at the severity of the symptoms.)
Our disability lawyers understand that once a judge has determined that you have a medically determinable impairment that could reasonably produce your symptoms, the judge will decide if your symptoms are severe enough to find you disabled. A judge will look at the intensity, persistence, or functionally limiting effects of pain or other symptoms. If your symptoms are supported by the objective medical evidence, a just may not spend a lot of time thinking about your credibility. On the other hand, if the objective medical evidence is lacking, a judge will have to go through credibility analysis to carefully weigh whether your symptoms are as severe as you say they are based on the entire case record.
Disability Lawyers – Disability Analysis Questions
Social Security does recognize that your symptoms can sometimes be more severe than the objective medical evidence suggests. When this is the case, a judge can look at the following to try to find support for your claims:
- The location, duration, frequency and intensity of your symptoms
- What causes your symptoms to get worse
- What medications you are taking and in what dosages
- What treatments you have received for your symptoms
- Any measures you take to limit your pain, such as lying sleeping on a board, elevating your feet, etc.
A judge will look at the above factors, and any other factors they want to really, and determine the extent to which your symptoms limit your ability to do basic work activities.
Contact our Meridian disability lawyers office today if you need assistance in applying for your disability benefits. Our disability lawyers can help you establish what may be lacking in your case and help you to prepare your case so that you have the best possible chance for success.
Originally posted 2013-02-22 06:26:15.