Filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be fraught with difficulty under the best of circumstances, but the process can be even harder when pain is the number one disabling feature of your condition.
That’s because pain is a purely subjective experience. Pain doesn’t show up on any blood test and it can’t be scanned by an MRI. In fact, individual experiences with pain can vary so much that a condition that one person finds entirely debilitating may just cause another person to occasionally reach for a heating pad.
A pain diary lends credibility to your claims
Essentially, you can use a pain diary to lend strength to your claims. While it’s not a medical test, it can help the claims examiner at the Social Security Administration (SSA) visualize your struggle. Here’s how it can help:
- It creates a more accurate record: A pain diary allows you to track and document your pain levels from hour to hour or day to day. By recording your experiences over time, you can provide a detailed account of the impact your pain has on your daily life.
- It helps illustrate the severity and frequency of your pain: To qualify for SSD, your symptoms need to be severe enough and frequent enough to significantly impair your ability to work. A pain diary can eliminate questions about how often you experience too much pain to function, and what makes the pain worse.
- It can become part of your medical records: Take your pain diary with you to every doctor appointment and ask your physician to enter the new pages into your chart. That makes it a tangible part of your medical history.
When you have a painful condition that’s disabling, your credibility is key to gaining approval for your disability claim. By maintaining a pain diary, you show that you are actively monitoring and trying to manage your pain over an extended period. This helps show that your pain is a genuine, ongoing issue that significantly impacts your life.
If you’re having trouble getting your Social Security Disability claim approved, there is legal help available.