Monthly Article (Oct. 2011) – Preparing to Testify about Pain

Preparing to testify about pain

Fayetteville SSD AttorneyPrior to your disability hearing, you will need to consider all of the issues that will likely come up at the hearing and be sure you are prepared to testify about them. One effective way to prepare is to make a list of all of the questions you may be asked at the hearing and practice answering them. For some issues, you may even create subcategories of issues and ask yourself questions in each subcategory.

For example, one issue about which the administrative law judge (ALJ) and/or your Fayetteville Social Security disability attorney will almost certainly question you is the nature of the pain you experience due to your disability. How your disability affects you physically is probably one of the main issues in your case, and you will want to ensure you are able to articulately express yourself. To do this, break the issue into subcategories. With respect to your physical pain, you may find it useful to separate the issue into three subcategories: 1) description of the pain; 2) treatment of the pain; 3) and restrictions resulting from the pain.
After separating the issue into subcategories, start coming up with questions in each subcategory.

Regarding describing your pain, the following are some basic questions you should be able to answer: What is the nature of your pain? When did your pain start? What caused your pain to start? How often do you experience pain? How long does the pain last? How intense is the pain? Is it an aching pain? Is it a burning pain? Does the pain radiate through your body?

Regarding treatment of your pain, relevant questions include: When did you first see a doctor to address the pain? How often do you see a doctor? When was the last time you saw a doctor? What treatments has your doctor prescribed? Are you on any medications? Have you experienced any relief since starting treatment? Has the treatment you have undergone caused any side effects?

Finally, regarding restrictions resulting from your pain, be prepared to answer the following: Are there any daily life activities you are unable to do? Are there any work tasks you are unable to do? Does your pain limit your ability to work a full day? Does your pain cause you to become overly stressed or irritable? Are there any assistive devices that enable you to carry out certain tasks? Has your doctor instructed you not to engage in certain activities?

Once you have developed lists of questions, set up a meeting with your Fayetteville Social Security disability attorney so that you can discuss the questions and practice answering them.

If you take the time to consider the topics you will be expected to address and practice discussing them, you minimize the chances you will be caught off-guard at your disability hearing, and you maximize your chances of obtaining benefits.

For professional assistance preparing for your disability hearing, please contact Fayetteville Social Security disability attorney Greg Thurman.