Chronic pain can be utterly debilitating, leaving the patient unable to perform basic activities or enjoy life. It can become so severe that the patient is unable to work, let alone engage in fun activities the claimant used to enjoy. Proving a disability claim based on chronic pain can be very challenging, however, and it is in your best interests to work with a Social Security disability advocate.
A Social Security Disability Advocate Explains Why Chronic Pain Is Difficult to Prove
The Social Security Administration relies upon its listing of impairments to determine whether a person is disabled or not. There are no conditions in the listings directly for chronic pain, though there are conditions that produce significant pain as one of the symptoms. If a claimant cannot use the listings, he must rely on his residual functional capacity to prove that his disability prevents him from being able to work any job he has held in the past 15 years.
As your Social Security disability advocate will tell you, proving your RFC requires that you meet criteria on the vocational-medical grids. Included are your age, level of skill and amount of education. The SSA relies upon objective medical evidence, and chronic pain, by nature, is subjective. There is no way that a doctor can objectively test your pain level. He can only observe its limiting effects.
A Social Security Disability Advocate on Limiting Effects of Chronic Pain
When you prove that your chronic pain is real and debilitating, it is not necessary to show how much pain you are experiencing, but merely to show how it limits your ability to function on the job and off. The following are important factors:
- Your pain’s duration, location, frequency, and intensity
- The effects your pain has on your daily activities
- Anything that brings about the pain, such as sitting or standing for long periods
- What treatments you have been prescribed for your pain, including dosages
- Techniques you use to limit your pain
Your Social Security disability advocate will tell you that it is important that you are honest both with others and yourself in judging what you can handle. It is possible, for instance, that at work you can stand for a couple of hours at a time. However, perhaps afterwards you are exhausted and weak. It would then be impossible to continue to be active on that level. You need to document by keeping a journal of your pain. Also, make sure that your doctor includes information about the pain you describe in his notes. Often doctors fail to do this, which can be costly to SSD applicants.
Regarding work limitations, consider the types of work you have held over the past 15 years which you think you could not go back to. Also, describe, in detail, your activities around the house and how your disability has impaired you from doing any or all of them.
Call a Social Security Disability Advocate
If you suffer from chronic pain or you need assistance with your SSD application or denial, a Social Security disability advocate may be able to help. Call Kim Engler today to arrange a consultation at 866-216-0456.