Chronic pain can come in many forms. It can be related to a specific injury or illness, or it can have no known cause. It can affect specific body parts like your back, neck, or joints, or it can manifest itself as a general health condition, causing such symptoms as headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. If you suffer from chronic pain, or recurring pain that lasts for more than three to six months, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.
In order to qualify for benefits, you must be able to show the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, or an impairment that can be established by medical evidence such as objective symptoms or lab tests. Additionally, you must be able to show that the pain or disability has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
Some medical conditions are associated with chronic pain. For instance, fibromyalgia, which is characterized by a widespread pain that can be set off by any touch, can be established through a combination of blood tests and by a doctor looking for tender point sites in a physical exam. Similarly, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which is characterized by severe burning pain often affecting the extremities, can be established through a series of tests including x-rays, MRIs, and nerve conduction studies. Other recognizable diagnoses related to chronic pain include chronic regional pain syndrome, somatoform pain disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic exertion intolerance disease, peripheral neuropathy, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and ilioinguinal neuralgia.
If your chronic pain is caused by or related to a disorder listed in the Social Security Administration’s blue book, you may automatically qualify for disability benefits. Other individuals may have to qualify pursuant to a residual functioning capacity (RFC) assessment. An RFC assessment is performed by disability claims examiners who seek to determine whether your disability limits you so much that you cannot work full-time.
Unfortunately, because pain is subjective and difficult to prove, your complaints alone will not be sufficient to establish a disability. For that reason, it is very important for Social Security disability applicants to receive regular and continuous medical treatment that is well-documented and addresses what you can and cannot do. The RFC assessment will look at all sources of evidence, including doctors’ reports and objective medical evidence, to establish the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of pain symptoms on your ability to do basic work activities and other activities of daily living.
New Jersey Social Security Disability Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Help Individuals Suffering From Chronic Pain Collect Disability Benefits
If you are in chronic pain or suffer from a permanent injury, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. The experienced Social Security disability lawyers at Shebell & Shebell can help you determine whether you have a viable claim, and help you pursue benefits. For a free consultation, call us at 732-532-2011 or contact us online today. We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Union Beach and Neptune.