someone filling out an application
By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits in Florida, one of the most critical aspects is accurately describing your symptoms. This information plays a pivotal role in determining whether your claim will be approved or denied. Unfortunately, many applicants make mistakes in this crucial step that can negatively impact their chances of receiving the benefits they deserve. In this guide, we’ll explore common mistakes to avoid when describing your symptoms in your SSDI application and how Disability Advocates Group can help you navigate this process successfully.

Why Accurate Symptom Description Matters

The Social Security Administration (SSA) relies heavily on medical evidence and symptom descriptions to evaluate SSDI claims. Your symptoms must align with the criteria outlined in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book. When describing your symptoms, it’s essential to:

  1. Establish Medical Credibility: Clear and accurate symptom descriptions help establish the medical credibility of your condition, making it more likely to be taken seriously by the SSA.
  2. Demonstrate Severity: Symptoms play a significant role in demonstrating the severity of your condition and its impact on your ability to work.
  3. Support Your Diagnosis: Your symptoms should align with your diagnosed medical condition, providing a coherent narrative of your disability.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Now, let’s delve into the common mistakes individuals often make when describing their symptoms in their SSDI applications:

  1. Exaggeration: While it’s essential to be honest about your symptoms, exaggerating them can harm your credibility. Stick to the facts and avoid embellishment.
  2. Lack of Detail: Vague descriptions can lead to misunderstandings. Provide specific details about the frequency, duration, and intensity of your symptoms.
  3. Inconsistency: Ensure your symptom descriptions remain consistent throughout your application and any subsequent appeals. Inconsistencies can raise doubts about the validity of your claims.
  4. Downplaying Symptoms: On the flip side, downplaying your symptoms can also be detrimental. Be candid about the limitations your symptoms impose on your daily life.
  5. Using Medical Jargon: Avoid using medical jargon or terminology that may not be easily understood by non-medical professionals. Explain your symptoms in clear, everyday language.
  6. Focusing on One Symptom: If your condition involves multiple symptoms, address them all in your application. Don’t fixate on one symptom to the exclusion of others.
  7. Ignoring Mental Health Symptoms: Mental health symptoms are just as important as physical symptoms. Be sure to describe any depression, anxiety, or cognitive issues you experience.

How to Accurately Describe Your Symptoms

To avoid these common mistakes and accurately describe your symptoms, follow these steps:

  1. Keep a Symptom Journal: Maintain a daily journal of your symptoms, including when they occur, their duration, and their impact on your daily life. This can provide concrete evidence for your application.
  2. Consult with Your Healthcare Provider: Discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider and ask for their input in describing them accurately.
  3. Use Specific Language: Instead of saying you have “pain,” describe the pain’s location, intensity, and how it affects your ability to perform tasks.
  4. Include Mental Health Symptoms: If you have mental health symptoms, describe them just as you would physical symptoms. Explain how they impact your daily life and ability to work.
  5. Be Honest and Consistent: Honesty and consistency are key. Don’t downplay or exaggerate your symptoms, and ensure that your descriptions align with your medical records.

How Disability Advocates Group Can Help

Navigating the SSDI application process in Florida can be complex, especially when it comes to accurately describing your symptoms. Disability Advocates Group is here to support you throughout this journey. Here’s how we can assist:

  1. Review Your Application: We’ll carefully review your application to ensure that your symptom descriptions are clear, accurate, and consistent.
  2. Collect Supporting Evidence: Our team will help gather medical records, diagnostic reports, and physician statements that substantiate your symptom descriptions.
  3. Prepare for Hearings: If your claim requires an appeal and a hearing, we’ll prepare you thoroughly, ensuring you can articulate your symptoms effectively before an administrative law judge.
  4. Advocate on Your Behalf: We’ll be your advocate throughout the SSDI application and appeals process, ensuring your voice is heard and your symptoms are understood.

Accurately describing your symptoms in your Florida SSDI application is crucial for a successful claim. By avoiding common mistakes and providing clear, honest, and detailed descriptions, you improve your chances of receiving the benefits you need. Disability Advocates Group is here to guide you through this process, offering expert assistance to ensure your symptoms are effectively presented to the Social Security Administration.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.