Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

Why Social Security Disability has trouble with back pain cases



 
A while back I injured my back and was bedridden for several days as a result. During this period, I couldn't help but think how horrible it would be to be saddled with nagging lumbar back pain indefinitely as is the case with many disability claimants.

It would be awful without a doubt. But here are some specific ways it would affect a person in terms of their ability to work: light jobs would be difficult because handling any amount of weight, let alone, say, 20 pounds, would aggravate a back problem. The simple weight of a gallon jug of milk could make a person wince.

How about a sedentary job? Well, the problem with sedentary jobs is...being sedentary. As many claimants with chronic lower back pain will attest, being in a seated position can become very uncomfortable even after a few minutes. But even "sedentary jobs" are not entirely sedentary. Most sedentary work still involves having to get up and down from a seated position dozens of times during the course of a day. And this can obviously present a problem for someone with lower lumbar pain. And, of course, there are the psychological aspects of having continuous pain and discomfort; chief among these is the effect that continuous pain has on one's ability to maintain attention and concentration. And, of course, pain does have a nasty effect on one's disposition.

Now, in the context of disability claims adjudication, why do I even bother mentioning this kind of stuff? Simply for this reason: Disability examiners, their supervisors, and the medical consultants with whom disability examiners work all too often slap decisions on cases without allowing claimants reasonable consideration with respect to their pain. This is not a trivial issue as the social security administration has been sued a number of times over its failure to recognize claimants' limitations due to pain.

Why do the "functionaries", or cogs of the disability system, fail to recognize the role that pain plays in a claimant's functional limitations?

Well, in the case of examiners, it may have a little to do with age. Most disability examiners tend to be younger individuals (twenties and thirties), i.e. people who have never had to deal with a disabling illness, such as degenerative disc disease. It's an unfortunate reality of human existence that people are often unable to empathize with someone else's pain if we have not experienced something similar ourselves.

In the case of the disability docs, that is the physicians who serve as unit medical consultants in a state's DDS (disability determination services), the blinders they wear may have more to do with the nature of their work.

Basically, "disability docs" sit in an office all day long, reading files and writeups that have been written by disability examiners. After a disability doc has finished perusing a file, he or she will write an RFC (residual functional capacity form) that may or may not agree with what an examiner has "conjured". At any one time, a DDS medical consultant may have dozens of cases in his office which need reviewing.

But in NONE, ABSOLUTELY NONE, of that time will one of these doctors ever see, touch, or feel one of the claimants that they are writing an RFC for. Can you make out the picture that I'm drawing. These doctors render VERDICTS on cases, in a way that is very impersonal, removed, bureaucratic, and even automated. And with the number of cases that come across their desks, it's hardly a wonder that MOST cases are given a medium RFC.

What is a medium RFC? It means several things, but in terms of exertional limitations, it means that a claimant is still expected to be able to, in the course of a workday, lifte 50 lbs occasionally and 25 lbs frequently. As an examiner, I saw medium RFCs given to claimants who, doubtless, would have difficulty lifting even 20 lbs once, let alone 50 lbs occasionally.








Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability



Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?



New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Behcet's disease and Filing for Disability

Dystonia and Filing for Disability




Related pages:

Are disability claims based On Back Pain Usually Turned Down?
SSD and SSI Disability Benefits and Back Pain
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
How many Social Security disability cases are approved for back pain?
Will I qualify for disability with back pain, bulging discs, and a bone spur?
Can I Receive Disability Benefits with Back problems?
Social Security Disability, back pain, and sedentary, light, and medium work
Social Security Disability, SSI, and low IQ
Applying for disability with Schizophrenia
Can I get disability for Rheumatoid arthritis?
Social Security Disability, SSI, and autoimmune disorders
Can you get disability for ankylosing spondylitis?



These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Can you get temporary Social Security disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

Filing and applying for disability in Texas








For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.