How Social Security Evaluates Your Symptoms

In our work as Jeffersonville disability attorneys, we have found that all of our clients share one common trait, regardless of their official diagnosis: The symptoms of their condition - the pain, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, tremors, etc. - have become so severe that they can no longer work. In most cases, it is these symptoms, more so than any official medical or psychological diagnosis, that renders our clients disabled.

The Social Security decision-maker will be keenly interested in your symptoms. Using a two-part analysis, the decision-maker will consider (1) whether, in fact, your symptoms exist and (2) if so, the disabling impact of your symptoms.

Part 1: Review of objective medical evidence
In the first part of this analysis, the Social Security decision-maker will seek to answer this question: Does objective medical evidence demonstrate that you have an impairment thatcould cause the symptoms you claim to have?

"Objective medical evidence" is evidence that can be reliably verified and documented. It is the type of evidence that usually is found in your medical records, e.g., medical test results, lab test results, x-rays and scans. Furthermore, this objective medical evidence must come from "acceptable medical sources," defined by the Social Security Administration to include licensed medical doctors, licensed osteopathic doctors, and licensed or certified psychologists.

Part 2: Review of all the evidence, including subjective evidence
If the objective medical evidence establishes that your symptoms could, in fact, exist, then the decision-maker will move on to Part 2 of the symptom analysis. This part calls for an evaluation of the nature and severity of your symptoms, including the "intensity, persistence, or functionally limiting effects" of your symptoms. The decision-maker will seek to answer this question: Is all the evidence in your case, including subjective evidence, consistent with your claims about the extent to which you are disabled by your symptoms? The decision-maker is required to consider all the evidence in your case, as a whole. "All the evidence" means the objective medical evidence from acceptable medical sources, as well as medical evidence from other sources (e.g., chiropractors), and subjective evidence, including, for example, medical opinion evidence, lay witness testimony, and expert testimony. In addition, your testimony at your disability hearing will be a critical piece of evidence in establishing the severity and disabling impact of your symptoms.

Contact the Jeffersonville disability attorney

Presenting an accurate and complete picture of the disabling impact of your symptoms is critical to the success of your Social Security disability benefits claim. Whether you are contemplating filing for benefits, or have filed and been denied, we can help you gather the evidence you need to make a compelling case. If you would like to talk with us, please submit the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page.