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I wrote recently about statements in support of a disability claim. Statements from those who are familiar with your situation (and particularly with your functional limitations) can be helpful evidence in support of your claim for Social Security disability benefits. Typically, these written statements are from a spouse, a relative, or a close friend.

At the NOSSCR conference in Philadelphia last week, attorney Daniel Emery spoke on the issue of the claimant's credibility, and its central role in ALJ decisionmaking.

Judges often focus on a claimant's credibility when evaluating a Social Security disability claim. Many people who are disabled have subjective symptoms, such as pain or fatigue. The judge must determine if the pain or fatigue is as bad as you say it is, and if it limits your ability to work as severely as you say it does. This necessarily requires a credibility determination.

One aspect of Mr. Emery's excellent presentation was to highlight the effectiveness of a statement from a previous employer on the issue of credibility. An employer's statement is an often-overlooked opportunity for favorable evidence. If your former employer says you were a hard worker, but became unable to do the job, that statement is highly supportive of your disability claim.

A disability applicant's desire to work is central to the credibility assessment for many ALJs. A statement from a previous employer can be persuasive evidence of your work ethic.


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