Improve your Oklahoma disability hearing testimony by keeping a symptom diary

When you appear at your Oklahoma Social Security disability hearing, you will be expected to testify about your symptoms. You will need to explain to the judge what symptoms you have; how often you experience them; how long they last; how bad they are; and how they limit what you can do. Remembering all the details in the stressful environment of a Social Security disability hearing is a challenge for most Oklahoma Social Security claimants.

One tip I can offer you as an experienced Oklahoma disability attorney is to keep a symptom diary. A diary will not only help with your testimony, but will also provide your doctor with a complete and detailed history of your symptoms, which may help him or her provide better treatment and a more complete opinion letter [link to tabbed article] supporting your claim.

How to keep your symptom diary

There are many different ways to keep a symptom diary. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • You might make a few notes each day on a wall calendar describing whether you had a good or bad day.
  • You might write a description in a notebook of how you feel at a particular time.
  • If you use a computer, you can keep your diary on it. However, do not send it to anyone or post it to an Internet site. Keep it just between you, your doctor, and your Oklahoma City disability lawyer.
  • You might devise a chart or grid that lists the dates across the top and the symptoms you typically experience down the side. Then you can check off the symptoms you experience on each date.

What to note for various common symptoms

Pain: If your condition causes you chronic pain, you can note the dates on which you had pain; where in your body you felt it; how it felt (searing, burning, throbbing, etc.); how intense it was on a scale of one to ten; how long it lasted; and what you did to alleviate it.

Sleep: If your condition or medication you take for your condition interferes with your ability to sleep, your diary might record how many hours you slept per night, what hours you tried to sleep but couldn’t, and what hours your fell asleep when you didn’t want to.

Fatigue: If your disability often makes you feel tired, note when the fatigue came on and how long it lasted. Note whether you were unable to do any planned activities because you were just too tired.

Asthma: If asthma is your problem, make a note of the date and time for each attack, what triggered it, how severe it was, and what you did to treat it.

Obviously, not all of these issues are relevant to every case, and your Oklahoma Social Security disability attorney will be in the best position to determine which type of diary will be helpful in proving your inability to work.

We can help

Developing the best possible case for your Social Security disability claim requires careful attention to detail and the guidance of a knowledgeable disability lawyer. If you are not already represented by an Oklahoma disability attorney and want an evaluation of your case, please provide a brief description of your claim using the form on this page. Or you may e-mail or call us.

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