Here’s how to explain impairments to your doctor to boost your case.

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Medical records are probably the most important part of a social security disability case. The more documentation you have, the easier it is to win. It’s also important to know that a specialist is better than a generalist; if you have a back problem, you’re better off seeing an orthopedic doctor or a neurologist than your primary care physician.

Another thing that the Social Security Administration looks for is consistency. If you’re being treated at different places and are making the same complaints, it helps your case. For example, if you have a bad back and go to the hospital because you fell and broke your finger, you need to mention your bad back when they take your history. 

  1. For back problems, be specific about how your condition affects your ability to work. If the doctor asks you about your back and you respond with, “It’s at a nine out of 10 on the pain scale,” or “It hurts, and I can’t do much,” that won’t help your case. However, if you say that you have to stand up after 10 minutes of sitting, stay standing for 15 minutes, then lie down for another 10 minutes, that’s a clearer measure of your pain. It also demonstrates that you’d encounter problems at any type of job. 

“The more documentation you have, the easier it is to win.”

  1. For hand and/or arm disabilities, talk in terms of pounds. Perhaps you have carpal tunnel syndrome, neuropathy, or a herniated cervical disc such that you experience a great deal of pain in your hands and/or arms. Again, the 10-point pain scale doesn’t help you much. Instead, tell your doctor what amount of weight you’re able to lift nowadays. For example: “Doc, I can’t hold onto anything that’s heavier than three pounds for long. I always have to drop it.” Talk about how long you’re able to hold a pen or type on a keyboard before experiencing a great deal of pain. 


  1. For irritable bowel syndrome, describe the amount of time you spend in the bathroom. How often does your IBS pull you away from your desk or job site? Unless you get specific, Social Security will assume that your IBS can be dealt with on your normal work breaks. If you tell your doctor that you’re going to the bathroom 10 times a day for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, that will help your case significantly. 


  1. When describing your migraines, be specific about quantity and duration. Just saying that you have severe migraines isn’t enough. For example, tell your doctor that you have four migraines a week, each lasting two to three hours. If your condition often leaves you bed-ridden or forces you to vomit, include those details. They’re very clear work-related limitations. 


  1. Go into detail about your seizures. Though your seizures may be severe, Social Security will assume that they don’t affect your work life unless you’re specific. You need to tell your doctor if you’ve had three grand mal seizures this month, each one requiring you to lie down for four hours afterward. 


Hopefully, you found this information to be helpful. If any of these disabilities are preventing you from working, please reach out to us and we can help you win your case. We’re here to be your caring, competent advocates.