Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and Social Security Administration (SSA) adjudicators appreciate objective medical evidence because it makes adjudicating Social Security Disability (SSD) cases easier. Finding someone disabled or not disabled has significant consequences; many Social Security claimants are living with family, on the brink of eviction, or homeless. Therefore, evidence that helps adjudicators make the right decision as soon as possible is appreciated. However, sometimes a claimant has an impairment or impairments that are based primarily on subjective medical signs and symptoms such as fibromyalgia, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome. In these cases, I recommend digging deep into the evidence and/or seeking additional evidence to support the claimant’s disability claim.
Supporting Subjective Signs and Symptoms, Such As Pain and Fatigue:
When fellow Social Security Disability (SSD) representatives refer to me for a consultation regarding claimants with primarily fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or interacting with others, I recommend using or creating additional evidence to support the claimant's complaints.
Request evidence from a former employer or coworker
Social Security Administration has forms that are specific to subjective complaints such as a Pain Questionnaire. The claimant will complete the form and adjudicators will analyze information for consistency and supportability compared to other medical evidence of record
If a claimant has a long, consistent work history, show a change in earnings that correspond to the alleged onset date of disability. Even more helpful, show the claimant has earned significant earnings and is now seeking a meagerly, monthly disability check
Educational records may show a significant decline in cognitive and executive functioning
Use Social Security Rulings such as SSR 14-1p to address chronic fatigue syndrome
Winning a Social Security Disability (SSD) case based on subjective complaints will require some digging into the available evidence and/or creating the evidence needed, such as using Social Security forms. It is possible to win!