A past blog addressed qualifying for disability benefits with chronic pain. Chronic pain is not a listed impairment in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Listing of Impairments (the “Listings”). While some diagnoses of certain conditions often related to chronic pain may help an applicant qualify, an applicant may also qualify through an assessment of his or her residual functional capacity (RFC), which is “the most [an individual] can still do despite [his or her] limitations” according to the Code of Federal Regulations.

In an assessment based on residual functional capacity, an applicant’s physical and mental limitations are examined and assessed to determine whether a disability is sufficiently limiting to prevent full-time work. One problem with establishing the existence of chronic pain is that it is subjective and difficult to prove. However, the Social Security Administration is required to evaluate the intensity and persistence of pain symptoms, and their effects, on a person’s ability to perform basic work activities.

Certain factors that should be considered include the location, duration, frequency, and intensity of pain and how it affects the applicant’s daily activities. Also, the factors that precipitate and aggravate pain must be considered along with the type, dosage, intended effects and side effects of pain medication. Any other treatments used to relieve symptoms, including physical therapy and acupuncture, should also be considered in tandem with any other methods of relieving pain.

An applicant must demonstrate to the SSA the functional limitations that are caused by pain and the length of time that the chronic pain is expected to limit the ability to function. But this is not a simple task. Some questions that should be asked and answered are:

Does the applicant:

  • need to stand up and stretch his or her legs when necessary?
  • need to lie down or nap everyday?
  • have to apply heat or cold packs throughout the work shift?
  • have to put up his or her feet periodically?

Working with a disability attorney ensures that all evidence in support of an application for disability is gathered, organized, filed with the SSA, and presented when otherwise required. We take great pride in our staff’s skills in building and presenting a case for disability benefits.

Taking advantage of the legal services offered by the Sullivan Law Office may be seamless and involve as little friction as possible. The Sullivan Law Office provides assistance in ensuring that all applicants and recipients receive all of the benefits to which they are entitled in all types of disability cases. These include Social Security Disability, long-term disability, short-term disability, state retirement and workers’ compensation. Contact the Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.I Have Chronic Pain - Do I Qualify For Disability Benefits? Part Two: Qualifying Through An Assessment Of Residual Functional Capacity