Credibility has been defined as: the quality of being believed.
When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (“SSDI” or “disability benefits”) it’s not enough that you are “disabled.” You must also be believed.
Things You Can Do To Improve Your Credibility Factor.
One of the sad realities you must face when you apply for SSDI is that most disability examiners and Administrative Law Judges (“ALJ”) are pretty distrustful souls.
Given the number of disability applications they see, many SSA employees believe that most applicants not disabled or they are simply not telling the truth. Yeah, the examiner may think to himself, Joe Applicant has a few things wrong with him, but it’s not all that bad.
When you are applying for SSDI benefits, you need to work hard to overcome this attitude.
One of the most important things you can do when you apply for disability benefits is to be very aware of how what you say and do affects your credibility. This means on your application, at your hearing and even at your doctor’s office.
For example, if you say on your application that you cannot sit for long periods of time, but then you sit through an hour of an administrative hearing without getting up once, chances are the ALJ is not going to believe you.
Or, if you go to your doctor and whenever someone asks you how you’re doing you say “not bad” or “pretty good” or “fine,” that is going to get into your medical records. And when the disability examiner reads in your medical records that you are frequently “fine” or “doing ok,” your claims of disability are not going to be believed.
Along those same lines, if you asked to describe your pain or limitations and you tell a story that has you never moving (assuming you are not paralyzed but can indeed walk, sit and stand for short periods) or “never, never ever” being out of pain or “always” in severe and unremitting pain, that’s not going to be believed either.
The point here is that you must be aware of not exaggerating your symptoms, pain, or limitations, but not downplaying them either.
Another thing you can do to improve your credibility is to say if you have “good days” and “bad days.” Most people do. If your condition is like this, you should say that both on your application and at your hearing and/or even at the doctor’s office. Why?
Because it is the truth and it prevents the SSA from finding that your daily activities are inconsistent with your claims of permanent disability. For example, if you have good days and bad days, on a “good day” you might be able to do the grocery shopping or make your bed or clean the house, whereas on a “bad day” maybe you can’t. If you don’t say this, then chances are that the SSA will assume you are not disabled because your daily activities show that you can go grocery shopping, clean and make your bed.
When you are truthful and consistent in what you say and do, you are believable.
If you want help with your disability application or hearing, contact experienced social security disability counsel.
Social Security Disability Cases.
If you have questions about SSDI benefits, call us. We are experienced disability attorneys. We FIGHT to get our clients the benefits they deserve. We have offices throughout Missouri, and Kansas, and in Belleville/Swanson, Illinois. We have offices in several cites in Oklahoma, too. We offer free consultations and we do not get paid unless you win your case. Send us an e-mail or call 855-727-8625.