Chronic pain can accompany many diseases and, in some circumstances, can be the basis for a Social Security disability claim. Here are a few common questions that I hear regularly regarding chronic pain.
Can Chronic Pain Qualify Me for Benefits?
Pain alone will not qualify you for benefits. Instead, you must demonstrate that your pain comes from a severe, medically determinable impairment that is evidenced by objective medical findings and other medical documentation. There is not a medical test to determine how much pain you are in. Pain is a subjective symptom and it is different for every person. That is why it is so important to have some objective findings to show that you suffer from a condition that can cause severe and debilitating pain.
How Does Chronic Pain Affect My Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment
Representatives from the Social Security Administration are tasked with the job of determining how your reported impairments, in this case chronic pain, affect your ability to work full-time. While pain is considered, it often is not primarily relied on due to the subjectivity of pain reports. Additionally, healthcare providers may not emphasize the degree of pain that their patients suffer.
Social Security Administration representatives are required to consider the location, frequency, intensity and duration of pain. They also must evaluate how an applicant’s pain can affect his or her daily life activities. They should consider factors that aggravate pain, too, as well as whether medication mitigates it. That is why it is very important that you describe your pain in detail to your healthcare providers, including a description of how your pain affects you in doing day-to-day activities, how you respond to medications and other treatments and any side effects from the medications.
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits is difficult. You need to understand Social Security’s requirements and the disability process. Order a free copy of my Unofficial Guide to Social Security Disability Claims on this site.
Or call my office a (800) 218-7062.