Can I Get Disability Benefits For Chronic Pain and Pain Syndromes?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t always make it easy for those with chronic pain or pain syndromes to get the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits they deserve. Many claims are denied because SSA says:
(1) There is no Medical Listing for pain and your pain syndromes aren’t the equivalent of a Medical Listing,
(2) You can return to the lightest job you held in the 15 years before you became disabled, or
(3) There is other work you can do in the mythical national economy based on your age, education, transferable skills and your residual functional capacity.
Not all cases of chronic pain and pain syndromes are severe enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, but Nancy Cavey has successfully represented many SSA applicants with chronic pain or pain syndromes. She works to overcome the denial of the claim by working closely with you and your physician to show that you:
She offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your Social Security disability claim.
What Is Chronic Pain and Pain Syndromes?
There is no gold standard test for chronic pain or pain syndromes. You can be in constant pain or have intermittent pain. The intensity and duration of your pain may change or increase as a result of physical activity. Chronic pain is thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the central or peripheral nervous system that can lead to abnormal impulses from your nerves that affect your blood vessels and skin.
Common chronic pain syndromes include:
Chronic spinal pain
Chronic spinal pain can result from aging or trauma and can be unrelieved by pain medication, injections, and even surgery.
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes extreme fatigue and muscle pain.
Complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD)
RSD causes severe pain in your hand, arm, foot or leg and typically develops after an injury. It can spread to other parts of your body.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, memory loss, poor sleep, bowel problems, and depression.
Headaches or Migraines
Chronic headaches or migraines can cause nauseousness, vomiting, dizziness, and can result in depression.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, causes bladder pressure, bladder pain, and pelvic pain.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) causes pain in the jaw, face or neck, headaches, and locking, popping and clicking of the jaw.
Many Social Security disability claims examiners, and even Administrative Law Judges, dispute the existence of these conditions, discount the pain as being “in your head” and reject any notion of disability.
Because pain is subjective, SSA wants overwhelming proof of the underlying medical condition that causes your pain and overwhelming proof of disability.
That is why it is crucial that you have an attorney who understands chronic pain and pain syndromes and knows how to gather the necessary medical and vocational evidence that is required to approve a claim.
The SSA ultimately may acknowledge your pain, but it may find that your pain is not disabling. A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) may provide objective evidence of how pain affects your ability to work from both a physical and cognitive basis.
What SSA Wants to See In Your Medical Records
Your medical records must establish that you meet the accepted medical criteria for the medical condition that is causing your pain. SSA will review your medical records and look for the following:
Because there is no listing for chronic pain or many pain syndromes, SSA will determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
When Your Chronic Pain or Pain Syndrome Makes It Impossible to Work
You must prove that you:
SSA or, ultimately an Administrative Law Judge, will answer those questions by determining your residual functional capacity. Your RFC is what you can do despite your chronic pain or pain syndrome.
Residual Functional Capacity For Chronic Pain
The SSA will review your medical records at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stage of the claims process and determine your functional capacity to perform sedentary, light, medium and heavy work.
SSA medical consultants often opine that a Social Security Disability applicant can do light and sedentary work, and that will result in a claim’s denial. The lower your RFC the more likely that you can’t return to the lightest job you held in the last 15 years or perform other work. SSA doesn’t tell applicants or physicians about the existence and importance of properly completed RFC forms that will explain:
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the questions on a pain syndrome, IBS, or interstitial RFC form. But you can see that having an explanation of what you can do physically, cognitively and emotionally is key to winning your case.
Many SSA cases are lost because the applicant did not obtain an RFC or the right RFC form, or because their treating physician didn’t properly complete the RFC form. That is one of the many reasons you should have an experienced Social Security attorney like Nancy L. Cavey represent you in your claim.
How Your Residual Functional Capacity Is Used At A Social Security Hearing
Many claims are denied both at the Initial Application and Request For Reconsideration stages of the claims process.
At the hearing stage, the Administrative Law Judge will determine your RFC and give hypotheticals to the vocational evaluator (VE) who will testify at your hearing. The judge will ask the VE to take into consideration your RFC, as determined by the judge, your age, education and prior work experience in determining:
It is crucial that you are represented at a hearing to make sure the right questions are asked of the VE.
How Do I Get The Social Security Disability Benefits I Deserve?
Chronic pain or pain from syndromes like IBS or interstitial cystitis not only can interfere with your daily activities, it can make it impossible to work. If you no longer can work or your doctor has told you to apply for Social Security disability, you should hire Nancy Cavey to:
The SSA is in the business of denying claims and will use any reason to deny your benefits. The odds of getting your Social Security benefits are greater when you are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney like Ms. Cavey.
Contact Social Security Disability Attorney Nancy L. Cavey, Who Can Help You Regardless of Where You Live in Florida
You owe it to yourself and your family to get help today! Ms. Cavey can explain the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation process used in every claim, the claims process and how to get your disability benefits for chronic pain or pain syndromes. Call today for a free consultation at 727-894-3188.