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SSDRC Disability Blog

How does Social Security consider pain?




 
As a social security disability examiner, I saw cases involving pain all the time. And by that I mean chronic pain cases involving degenerative disc problems, RSD, fibromyalgia (and a number of other conditions which I won't list) and simply chronic pain by itself. How much consideration does the social security administration give to "pain". Sadly , not much at all.

This is partly the fault of doctors (treating physicians) who fail to document the limiting effects of pain in their treatment notes (and, in general, doctors fail to note functional limitations in their records), and the fault of the social security administration in failing to address pain and the limitations caused by pain.

How could SSA address something which a disability claimant's own doctors may have done little to document? Sending a medical source statement--also known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity form--to a claimant's treating physicians at the initial claim or reconsideration level might be a good way to start.

Unfortunately, this is not something that SSA instructs disability examiners to do. Cost may be a factor since doctors are less likely to complete such forms without receiving compensation for their time. Likewise, SSA would probably be forced to pay on more claims if RFC forms were routinely sent out as a matter of case processing).

However, claimants can take an active role in this regard by requesting that their treating physician(s) complete on their behalf a detailed statement regarding their medical condition and functional limitations.

And if severe and unrelenting pain is a factor in a claimant's inability to work, there's no reason why this cannot be addressed in the physician's statement. Claimants who make such requests of their doctor(s) should, of course, explain the need for providing detail in describing mental or physical functional limitations.








Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions








Related pages:

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Social Security Disability and pain symptoms
Never minimize your pain symptoms on a disability claim
When does a case go to the Social Security Disability review board?
How long will an SSI or SSDI disability claim take?
Using a lawyer to potentially speed up the disability appeal process
Speeding up the Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Process
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount
Reasons to get a representative who specializes in disability claims only
When you apply for social security disability should you send copies of your xrays?
Getting approved for disability based on being blind
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How does Social Security consider pain?



Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI


These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida