Many of the clients at my Lowell Social Security law firm find that chronic pain is a significant reason why they are unable to work. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may have to testify about it at a Social Security disability hearing. Since pain is a very personal experience that cannot be measured with any medical test, your description of your pain will be crucial. The judge will rely on your testimony to understand just how disabling your pain is.
At your disability hearing, you can expect to be asked to describe your pain and how your pain limits your activities. The most important advice any Lowell Social Security lawyer can give you is to (1) tell the truth without exaggerating or minimizing your pain; (2) know what activities you can and cannot do; and (3) provide details and examples of how your pain affects you.
When asked to describe your pain, use words that paint a picture. There are many words that can be used to describe pain. A list of some of the most common is provided below. It’s unlikely that all apply to your pain, but you may want to make a note of those that do.
You should be able to explain what brings on or aggravates your pain and what alleviates it. For example, does moving in a certain way, or heat or cold aggravate your pain? Is it worse when your first get out of bed or after you have been up for a while? Does prescription medicine, over the counter medicine, lying down, or a heating pad make it better?
Another useful way to convey the intensity of your pain is to rate it on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain imaginable.
Be prepared to tell the judge if your pain has forced you to give up any activities or if you now struggle to do certain activities because of your pain. For example, does your pain affect your ability to shop, cook, clean your home, bathe or dress yourself? Do you need help with these activities; do you do them less frequently; do they take you much longer to accomplish than they used to? Have you given up any hobbies because of your pain? Have you passed on family gatherings or vacations because of your pain?
Be able to tell the judge how your pain limits your ability to sit, stand, walk, and lift. Can you sit through a TV show? Stand long enough to do a sink full of dishes? Walk a block or the length of a supermarket aisle? Can you lift a sack of dog food or a gallon of milk?
As a Lowell Social Security attorney, one of my most important jobs is to prepare clients to testify at their disability hearings. If I represent you, I will meet with you before your hearing to offer you additional guidance on how to describe your pain and other problems so that the administrative law judge will understand why you cannot work.
If pain or other health problems are keeping you from working, you are not yet represented by a Lowell disability attorney, and you would like a free evaluation of your case, fill out the form on this page. Or phone or email us.
Gerard A. Palma, Esq.
Palma Law Offices, P.C.
Lowell disability attorney
45 Merrimack Street, Suite 330
Lowell, Massachusetts 01852