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Could a journal help you win your SSDI claim?

On Behalf of | Dec 21, 2022 | Social Security Disability

When you’re suffering from a chronic, disabling condition, you probably often feel like it’s not the disease but the symptoms that really wear you down. Chronic pain and severe fatigue are two of the most commonly reported symptoms of those with enduring medical problems.

But, how do you show how pain limits you or fatigue halts you in your tracks? Even with all of the medical technology available today, there’s no device that can accurately measure either pain or fatigue. They’re both subjective experiences.

This is how a journal can help. Here’s what you need to know:

Consistency is something that weighs heavily in your favor

When you apply for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, your medical records will be evaluated by the claims examiner. If you’ve made consistent reports to your doctors about your pain and fatigue levels, as well as what attempts you’ve made to alleviate those symptoms, that tends to lend veracity to your claims.

It can also help paint a much clearer picture of just how often you experience problems with pain and fatigue, as well as how they limit you. That may factor heavily into SSA’s evaluation of what other work you might be able to do.

Your journal should include information like:

  • Your pain and fatigue levels at different points in the day. You can use a standard 1-10 scale, where 10 is the worst pain or fatigue you’ve experienced.
  • Notes on anything you think may have triggered the pain or fatigue. That could be physical exertion, stress or even exposure to environmental factors, like a shift in the weather.
  • Notes on anything that you did to try to relieve the symptoms. If you slept, how long did you sleep? If you couldn’t sleep because of pain, did you take medicine, lie down or use a heating pad?


Take copies of your journal pages with you to your doctor’s appointments. That way, it becomes part of your medical records.

The human body is a remarkable machine – but it’s also prone to some pretty big problems. There are thousands of conditions out there that are potentially disabling – but getting the Social Security Administration to see the strength of your claim isn’t always easy on your own. Don’t be afraid to seek experienced legal guidance to get your SSDI claim approved.


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