Describing your pain

A large part of your testimony at your disability hearing will require you to describe your pain and other symptoms to the judge. The best way to do this is to explain how often you have pain, how long your pain lasts, and the intensity of your pain. An experienced Hartford disability lawyer can help you effectively prepare to testify at your disability hearing.

Estimate How Often You Have Pain

If your pain comes and goes, you must detail how often this happens. Don’t testify that your symptoms occur “from time to time” or “occasionally.” The judge won’t understand whether you are suffering daily, weekly, or yearly. It’s most effective to provide a lot of details and examples. Explain how often you suffer in a typical week. If you have weeks with no symptoms, estimate how many weeks out of a month are pain-free. The more information you provide about how often you have symptoms, the better understanding the judge will have about why your symptoms keep you from working.

If your symptoms vary, you must explain how long they last. Try not to use the word “sometimes.” Instead, use the word “usually.” For example, explain that after you walk to the mailbox, your legs usually hurt for about two hours.

Estimate the Intensity of Your Symptoms

The judge will likely ask you about the intensity of your pain. It may help to use a 1-to-10 scale, where 1 is essentially no pain and 10 is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. Try to remember the worst pain you’ve ever had. Did you go to the hospital? Did you lie on the couch in agony? This is level 10-type pain. Some claimants have pain that occasionally reaches this level, but most don’t. Claimants who testify that their pain is often at the 10 level are probably exaggerating. Most judges will not believe a claimant who testifies that his or her pain is at a 10 level – it’s unlikely that a person in that much pain could actually testify at the hearing.
If you believe you are entitled to disability benefits, contact an experienced Hartford disability lawyer.