Building a Strong Social Security Disability Claim for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a common reason for filing claims to receive SSDI benefits. Unfortunately, though, most first-time applicants are surprised when they hear that their applications have been denied. There is no doubt that the chronic pain experienced may take a toll on a claimant physically, emotionally, and even financially. However, any Social Security disability lawyer would tell you that simply stating that you have “chronic pain” is not enough to build a strong case for your claim.

Our team at Ascend Disability is here to help you get the benefits you deserve. Contact us today at (855) 445-9787 for a free consultation!

Chronic Pain Is a Symptom, Not a Diagnosis

You must keep in mind that chronic pain is not an official diagnosis. It is not listed within the “Blue Book” directory or Listing of Impairments used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or related agencies. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits or even long-term disability benefits, you must have a diagnosed condition – not just a symptom. The SSA will require a lot more than just a reported symptom before it considers approving you for benefits.

Identify the Cause, Confirm the Diagnosis

Instead of focusing too much on the symptom, your primary objective should be to determine the official diagnosis that caused the symptom to emerge and persist. Your Social Security disability lawyer will help you to ask the appropriate questions and get the necessary answers to reach the desired conclusion in this regard.

As mentioned, the “Blue Book” used by the SSA does not reference “chronic pain” as an approved condition. However, it does include an extensive list of diagnosed physical and neurological conditions that could cause it. Once you have the documentation that confirms the actual diagnosis, you have taken a monumental step toward building a solid case around your chronic pain claim.

Focus on Your Residential Functional Capacity (RFC)

Another important factor of your chronic pain claim needs to be the determination of your residential functional capacity (RFC). This is basically an assessment of your overall ability to perform certain physical and mental tasks despite your disability. The SSA will typically focus on certain tasks about what you can say, hear, and see in addition to your ability (or inability) to concentrate at work.

Your memory retention is also examined as well since the RFC assessment examines your ability to understand, remember, and carry out specific instructions. How you handle unexpected changes and adjustments in the standard workplace in addition to how long you can perform basic physical activities are all considered closely as well.

Chronic Pain Diagnosis

How Your Doctor Helps With the RFC Assessment

Before you start to overwhelm yourself with the RFC assessment, keep in mind that you will not have to carry the burden yourself. On the contrary, your doctor will carry the load themselves. They are expected to explain your physical limitations and other ways that your confirmed diagnosis has impacted your daily life.

Once they study your medical records and conduct a physical and/or mental examination, the doctor will then fill out the paperwork that the SSA will need to decide if you are capable of returning to work. There may also need to be a consultative exam conducted with a different doctor if the SSA wants another opinion or differing perspective before making any final decisions.

Pay Close Attention to Substantial, Gainful Activity

While focusing on the application process, you should also keep in mind that your Substantial, Gainful Activity (SGA) could compromise your endeavors if you are not paying attention. Most first-time applicants may not know that they must stay under a specific income limit if they are working while disabled. For example, an applicant cannot earn over $1,090 in gross earnings per month. When it comes to non-medical criteria examined by the SSA, the SGA rule is one of the most important items examined.

Work With Your Social Security Disability Lawyer to Build a Case

It may seem as if you can gather all the necessary documentation on your own to build your case around your chronic pain claim. Some may even feel that the Internet provides more than enough guidance to help them essentially represent themselves. These are misconceptions with grim realities that quite a few people learn the hard way by overlooking the importance of legal representation. You do not have to face that on your own.

Trust in the expert Social Security disability lawyers at Ascend Disability to navigate your way through this turbulent and tedious process. Contact our team today at (855) 445-9787 to schedule your free consultation to discuss the specific details of your chronic pain issues and overall claim.

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