Social Security Disability process is heavily dependent upon medical records. Those who decide disability case are trained to review, analyze and understand the medical records of a Social Security claimant. Once the records are fully understood, the claim person then makes a determination whether those records prove that the claimant has a medical problem that is expected to make the person unable to work.
Unfortunately, all medical records are not “created equal”. Some are too brief. Others are difficult to read. Many do not incorporate all of which the patient had told the health care provider. A journal or diary will not take the place of medical records. It can, however, contain very useful information that would otherwise be lost to the memory of the disabled worker by the time a disability hearing occurs.
The journal or diary need be in any particular form, on special paper or be written, printed or typed in a specific way. An inexpensive spiral notebook is great. Each entry should contain the date and the name of the person making the entry. The entry does not need to be very long. Instead, it need only contain the essential points that the claimant wishes to recall later. For example, if part of the basis for the disability claim is a seizure disorder, then writing down the fact that a seizure occurred and some brief detail about the experience is enough. If part of the disability claim is based on headaches, depression, incontinence (bowel or bladder) or pain, then a brief note of the experience is that is needed. It is best to make the entries at or around the time of the occurrence. Before the hearing, the journal should be given to your attorney for use in preparing you for the hearing.