Pain is a reality for many with physical limitations which keep them from working. The Social Security Administration understands how pain may reduce a person's ability to walk, stand, sit, or even concentrate when attempting to perform a work-related task.
There is little doubt that pain can easily keep a person from being able to work.
However, in order for a person's pain to be considered as a factor to receive Social Security disability benefits, there are some things to keep in mind:
1. The cause of the pain must be medically documented.
In order words, a generalized allegation of pain will not be enough. There must be some type of measurable physical impairment which creates the pain. Further, this physical impairment must be within a person's medical records within a certain time frame. If a person is alleging a physical impairment (for example) that occurred ten years ago, it is going to be difficult to convince the Social Security Administration that a person's pain is attributed to this. A person's medical records are going to need to be within one to two years of his or her alleged onset date (the date in which he or she was unable to work) to show how the pain is related to the physical condition.
2. The pain must also be medically documented.
Again, for example, a person with a back impairment is obviously going to have pain. But, if a person is alleging that his or her pain is at such a level that he or she is unable to concentrate or mentally function, then the doctor is going to need to document this in the medical records.
3. If the pain is at such a level as to stop a person from engaging in the smallest of activities, then it would be best to have a pain management doctor.
Anytime a person is alleging a mental or physical impairment, a specialist should be treating the condition. Today, there are many pain management doctors. If severe pain is a factor keeping a person from working, then a pain management doctor should be actually documenting this.
4. Tests always help.
If there is an actual physical impairment causing the severe pain, then tests such as CT scans, an MRI, or X-rays will really help to show where the pain is originating. The more documentation to show how the pain is being created, the stronger a person's case.
5. Self-reporting your pain will likely not be enough.
It is understandable, once a person stops working, he or she is very unlikely to be able to afford an MRI or other expensive treatment. If all else fails, have a number of friends or family or a past employer write a letter stating how the pain limited the ability to do physical activity. This will at least give credibility to a person's self-reporting.
6. Get your doctor to prepare of Residual Functional Capacity Assessment.
If you have a long history of treatment with a certain physician, then it could be possible that the Social Security Administration will give either great or controlling weight to his or her opinion. If that is the case, then if your doctor can establish that you are not even capable of performing sedentary work, then you may greatly increase your chances of winning your claim.
We represent claimant throughout Texas and California fighting for their Social Security disability benefits. If you need to speak with us, always feel free to contact us at: (888) 780-9125.