Can I Collect Social Security Disability Benefits for Chronic Pain?
Over the course of your career, you’ve paid into the Social Security system—it’s only fair to expect it to take care of you when you are no longer able to work. If chronic pain has impacted your ability to keep up with your current job, you may be considering SSD benefits. Before you apply, it’s important to understand how Social Security Administration looks at chronic pain claims and what you’ll need to do to submit a strong application.
We’re here to help. Schedule a consultation now by calling The Dansby Law Firm at 334-834-7001.
How Does Your Chronic Pain Affect Your Life?
First, start gathering evidence about how your chronic pain affects your life—specifically, your ability to work. The goal of the SSA is to evaluate each application and understand how an individual’s condition keeps them from working. Look at your work history with a critical eye.
Has your condition caused you to miss substantial time from work, putting you at risk of termination? Has your productivity slowed to the point that you are at risk of losing your job? Have you had to switch to a lower-paying job to keep your chronic pain under control?
The better you are at proving that your chronic pain interferes with your ability to work, the better chance you have of getting your application approved.
Medical Reasons for Chronic Pain
There are a lot of hurdles you will need to overcome to get SSD benefits for chronic pain. The first hurdle is the fact that it can be incredibly difficult to figure out the medical reason for your chronic pain. Thousands of chronic pain survivors have frustrating stories of going through test after test, only to have no conclusive reason for their chronic pain. In the eyes of the SSA, that means that the status of your disability is questionable.
The Social Security blue book does not have a listing for chronic pain, as you may have expected. However, if your chronic pain can be explained by another diagnosis you have, you may be able to qualify for benefits under that listing. Some common reasons for chronic pain include:
- Inflammatory arthritis
- Chronic renal disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Back injury
- Vertebral fracture
This is something to discuss with your doctor. If you have a strong working relationship with them, they may be able to diagnose the root cause of your chronic pain and provide the necessary documentation to help you get SSD benefits. It’s helpful to have a doctor who has handled SSD applications before, as they understand the massive amount of evidence you need to have your claim accepted.
While you may get benefits for chronic pain with the right diagnosis, that isn’t always an option. Chronic pain is, unfortunately, sometimes unexplainable. In that case, you shouldn’t give up on getting disability benefits. Instead, you may need to go through an RFC assessment.
RFC stands for “residual functional capacity.” This refers to your ability to work productively given your current physical and mental limitations. This process can be draining, but it is a good way to prove how your pain levels affect your ability to work. Valuable information includes how long your pain lasts and how severe it is, how it impacts your ability to engage in daily activities, and the various factors that affect your pain levels.
Your RFC assessment will look at what you are physically and mentally capable of doing. It’s important to be realistic as you assess your limits. For example, consider a normal day at your job. After spending an hour walking around doing daily tasks, are you feeling fine or are you trying not to cry from pain? If it’s the latter, you can’t safely say that you can walk for an hour without issue.
The RFC also looks at the various ways you manage your pain, because the amount of time you spend tending to your pain levels may keep you out of certain fields. The RFC will determine if you are able to work in your current job, and if not, if there are other fields you can work in. If you are completely unable to work, that is when they will consider giving you SSD benefits.
Start Your Application with The Dansby Law Firm
Navigating the Social Security disability benefits process can be overwhelming, but not with the right team at your side. Contact The Dansby Law Firm online or call us at 334-834-7001 to schedule a consultation now.