PAIN SYMPTOMS AND DISABILITY CLAIMS
Dec. 11, 2017
California residents who cannot work due to pain or chronic ailments can file a Social Security disability claim. If a claim is initially denied, the claimant can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. It is important for applicants to include in the initial application how pain affects their ability to work.
The Social Security Administration cannot ignore symptoms of pain on a disability application. However, severe pain must be supported by substantial evidence. This requires less proof than a preponderance of evidence standard (which means more likely than not), but it must be enough to convince a reasonable person that it is valid.
One of the most important things for claimants to remember is that pain should be documented in their medical records. On the initial application, the claimant will be asked to list how symptoms affect their daily life during normal activities such as bathing, cooking, cleaning, sitting or standing. Medical providers may ask patients to rate their pain levels on a scale of one to 10.
An attorney could help claimants get approved for Social Security disability payments, especially if an initial claim has been denied. The lawyer can make sure that the claimant's entire medical record is included for consideration and prepare the client for the hearing before the administrative law judge. Many claims that are denied at the initial application and reconsideration stage are approved if the case proceeds to a hearing.
At a hearing, the claimant will be allowed to testify about how pain symptoms affect their ability to work. A vocational expert may be present to testify about what types of jobs the person would be qualified to do based on work experience and the current physical or mental limitations. An attorney will be allowed to provide evidence to support the claimant's argument.