Chronic Pain as a Basis for Social Security Disability Benefits: Your Credibility
Your credibility is the extent to which your statements regarding your pain can be believed and accepted as true. There are two significant factors that can increase the credibility of your statements concerning your pain:
- The consistency of your statements to each other and with other information in your case record. All statements made by you regarding your pain that are in your case record will be examined by the Social Security Administration. These include statements made to your doctors that have been recorded in your medical records, statements made in Social Security disability forms and questionnaires that were prepared during the application process, statements made in connection with claims for other types of disability benefits, and testimony at your hearing. Consistency in your statements is key to your credibility. However, inconsistency does not necessarily mean that your statements are not credible as long as the inconsistency can be explained, such as if your pain fluctuates over time or your treatments stop working. The Social Security Administration will also compare your statements to reports and observations of other persons concerning your daily activities, behavior, and efforts to work, including any observations recorded by Social Security Administration employees.
- A history of seeking and following treatment for your pain. If you are able to present evidence that shows you sought treatment for your pain and followed the prescribed treatment, this will support your allegations of intense and persistent pain. Continual efforts to achieve pain relief, such as through consultation with pain specialists, and testing the effectiveness of different medications or treatments, increase your credibility. Conversely, your statements concerning the severity of your pain may lose credibility with the Social Security Administration if you delayed seeking treatment, or if the medical records indicate that you have not followed the prescribed treatment, without reason.
Contact experienced Ocala disability lawyer Claudeth Henry to discuss establishing a claim based on chronic pain or for a free initial consultation. To schedule your appointment, fill out the form on this page or call (352) 304-5300.