Keeping a Symptom Diary in Your
Social Security Disability Claim
When you appear at your Columbia Social Security disability hearing, you will be expected to testify about your disability and how it affects your activities of daily living. Unless you have been blessed with a superhuman memory, you will probably find it difficult to recall how you felt on any particular day. For example, if your medical disability causes you to have headaches, the administrative law judge may ask questions like:
- How often do you have headaches?
- How long do they last?
- How severe are they?
In the sometimes stressful setting of a Columbia Social Security disability hearing, it can be difficult for you to recall such specific information about your symptoms. In cases such as these, a symptom diary can be especially useful.
Few Social Security disability claims are decided on the basis of objective medical findings and test results alone. More often, you will need to testify about your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work. Keeping a symptom diary can help you testify more credibly, especially in claims involving the following issues:
Pain: Pain can be a troubling and ongoing symptom. A pain diary might include facts like what days you had symptoms of pain, where the pain was located, how intense it was and how long it lasted, and what you did in response to it.
Fatigue: If your disability makes you feel fatigued, when did you feel fatigued and how long did it last? Did you neglect some or all of your household responsibilities because you were just too tired?
Asthma: When did you have an asthma attack? How severe was it? What triggered the attack? Did you use an inhaler, and if so, did it help?
Sleep: Does your disability interfere with your ability to sleep, or is sleep disturbance a side effect of medication? If so, consider keeping a diary that says not only how many hours you slept per night, but what hours you tried to sleep but couldn’t. Conversely, if tiredness is a problem, keep track of hours where you fell asleep when you didn’t intend to.
Obviously, not all of these issues are relevant to every case, and your Columbia Social Security disability attorney will be in the best position to determine which of these types of diaries, if any, will be helpful in proving your inability to work.
Get Assistance With Your Social Security Disability Case
Susan D. Clasbey
Columbia Tennessee disability lawyer
1105 South Main Street
Columbia, Tennessee 38401