How to Testify on Symptoms
Your testimony is a key part of the evidence the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider when determining your claim. Only you understand your pain, or when you feel short of breath, nauseated or tired. A competent Social Security disability attorney in Detroit can offer you pertinent advice on how to give persuasive testimony.
As any Social Security disability attorney in Detroit would attest, you are better qualified to testify on your symptoms than anyone else. That is because symptoms describe how you feel, and no one else can feel your symptoms as they specifically affect you. It is important that you provide detailed and persuasive information about your symptoms for this reason.
This means that when the judge asks you why you can’t work, it’s insufficient to say, “I have arthritis.” Many people with such impairment are capable of working, and do work. The judge needs to know the severity of your pain and other symptoms and how they prevent you from working.
Try to be specific when you explain your symptoms. It’s not enough to say, “It hurts.” Describe the sensation of your symptoms to the judge as if he were a family member. Explain:
- The nature, degree, and site of pain,
- Whether it moves to various parts of your body,
- The frequency and duration of the pain you experience,
- Whether you feel better, worse, or the same from day to day,
- What triggers your pain or other symptoms, and
- What worsens your symptoms and what alleviates them.
Describe your symptoms to the judge to the best of your abilities while always telling the truth. Your Social Security disability attorney in Detroit will stress the importance of neither exaggerating nor diminishing your symptoms.
If you overstate your symptoms or complain about endless excruciating pain that is unsubstantiated by the medical records, the judge will naturally become skeptical. He or she may wonder how you even made it to the hearing if you’re in such pain. Thus, it is best to avoid:
- Overusing words like “extreme” or “excruciating” to describe pain.
- Alleging that you are “always” or “constantly” hurt.
- Claiming that you “never” get any relief from pain if you can find occasional relief from pain.
The judge will also doubt your disability if you dismiss your symptoms by saying that they are not serious. This is a surprisingly common mistake among claimants. Don’t confuse being brave with telling the truth.
Attorney Marc J. Shefman is an experienced Social Security disability attorney in Detroit who is ready to protect your rights. Call his law offices today at 248-298-3003 for a free initial consultation.