Determining Credibility: How an Administrative Law Judge Uses SSR 97-6P

6931012_sNo one knows better than you do how the symptoms you are experiencing have affected virtually every aspect of your life. Whether it is chronic illness, fatigue, severe pain or depression, you have become all too aware of how these outward manifestations of your illness or injury have slowed you down and drastically changed your ability to do a fulltime job. That is, after all, why you have consulted a Chicago Illinois-based Social Security attorney in an attempt to receive ongoing disability benefits.

As you and your lawyer gather all of the evidence of how your symptoms have made you unable to do what is called “substantial gainful employment” on a fulltime basis, you will obtain records about your condition from all of the medical professionals who have treated you. In part, the reason for this is that the administrative law judge hearing your case is required to do what is called a credibility analysis based on Social Security Ruling 96-7P. Although questioning your credibility may seem like a personal attack, it occurs in all cases and is designed to review the entirety of your symptoms as they have been reported by you and all third parties involved in the case, including your doctors. The administrative law judge’s job is to then determine the pace, persistence and intensity of those symptoms and how they will ultimately affect your ability to work.

This process of determining credibility is set forth in Social Security regulations and clearly lays out the guidelines that the judge must use. These include:

  • Your daily activities
  • The nature, location, duration and frequency of your pain or other symptoms
  • Aggravating and precipitating factors
  • Your medications, their dosage and side effects
  • Any other treatments besides medications that you use to relieve your symptoms
  • Anything else you might do to relieve pain such as changing positions frequently
  • Any other relevant factors

This process may seem long and arduous. However, it is the best way for your administrative law judge to quantify the very real but unique and subjective symptoms you feel. Therefore, it is important to work with medical professionals who support and believe in you, follow their treatment plans, marshal all of your evidence and find an attorney who can be at your side throughout the determination of credibility and your entire disability hearing.

By |2013-11-18T19:31:21+00:00November 18th, 2013|Blog|Comments Off on Determining Credibility: How an Administrative Law Judge Uses SSR 97-6P