Monday, August 26, 2013

How a Symptom Diary Can Help You Win Your Social Security Disability Case

As a Connecticut and Massachusetts Social Security Lawyer, I often recommend that my clients keep a symptom diary.  A symptom diary can be kept in many different formats: journals, calendars, charts and spreadsheets.  Now, there are even some great phone apps that allow patients to routinely keep track of their symptoms!  
A symptom diary can be particularly useful in a social security disability hearing.  Judges often ask questions about a claimant’s limitations, particularly with respect to certain daily activities such as: sitting, standing, walking, lifting and carrying. The more specific details and descriptions a claimant tells the judge, the more credible his or her testimony will be.  A good diary can assist a claimant when testifying about symptoms that occurred several months or even years before the hearing.
As I explain to all my clients, in Connecticut and in Massachusetts, it takes about a year to get in front of a social security judge from the date that the request for a hearing is made.  (It usually takes about two years to get a hearing from the date of the initial application.)  For this reason, a good diary can help improve the accuracy of your testimony.
One of my disability clients recently had a great experience using an android app to keep a record of his symptoms.  The name of the app is called: “Manage my pain” and it can be downloaded at  I welcome any feedback regarding this app.  Please let me know if you think it is helpful, whether it is user friendly and whether the free version gets the job done as well as the one that you have to purchase.