Injured Man Filling Insurance Claim Form

How Chronic Pain Is Evaluated in Social Security Disability Claims

Chronic pain can make everything about your life more difficult, from working to taking care of your family and even preparing a meal. Many people with chronic pain may seek disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), only to be denied. 

If this has happened to you, an experienced legal team may be able to help you get the benefits you’re entitled to. Read on to learn about the process of collecting SSA disability benefits.

Qualifying for SSA Disability Benefits

The SSA has a list of medical conditions and injuries that automatically qualify an individual for benefits, but unfortunately, a state of chronic pain is not one of them. Instead, even if the pain is debilitating enough to impact your ability to work, you must prove that the pain stems from an underlying medical condition that the SSA covers.

Medical conditions that cause chronic pain listed in the SSA Blue Book of qualifying disabilities include:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Back and spinal injuries
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Neurological disorders
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Chronic renal disease or kidney failure

To support your claim with the SSA, you’ll need to have your medical condition verified, including medical records, X-rays, tests, documented results of a physical exam, and a diagnosis from one or more doctors. If you have a second opinion that diagnoses you with the condition, that will bolster your SSA disability claim.

Can I still get benefits even if I don’t meet the SSA criteria?

Even if you don’t meet all of the criteria in the SSA Blue Book, you may still qualify for partial benefits if you can prove that your condition prevents you from working. The SSA will then assess your highest functioning capacity to determine whether you’re capable of performing any work at all.

The Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment determines the persistence, intensity, and other effects of your pain, including:

  • The location, intensity, and frequency
  • Any factors that make the pain worse
  • Whether your pain management regimen or medications can alleviate pain

The assessment covers work-related tasks, including standing, sitting, walking, and remembering information, as well as the impact of your pain on your ability to complete these tasks. If the assessment indicates that you’re unable to complete essential, basic job functions, then you may qualify for benefits.

Establishing Your SSA Disability Case

Your credibility goes a long way toward the outcome of your case. You’ll be asked about your abilities to complete daily activities, from bathing and grooming to caring for your children, cleaning your home, or preparing meals and shopping for groceries. You’ll also be asked for a list of things that you can accomplish on your own, even if you need modifications, such as a wheelchair or frequent breaks.

Whether you sought medical treatment or not is also important in establishing your eligibility for benefits. The SSA may not believe that you’re suffering from severe pain if you haven’t been to the doctor for help.

A Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help

Obtaining benefits if you’re living with chronic pain can be difficult. You’ll need plenty of evidence to build your claim if the SSA initially denies it. We can help. 

Roeschke Law, LLC of Phoenix, AZ, is a team of Social Security disability attorneys fighting to protect your rights and get you the benefits you deserve.

We work with you through every step of the process and help you find medical professionals in your area who understand the underlying medical conditions that cause chronic pain. 

Call Roeschke Law today or visit us online to learn more and schedule a free legal consultation.