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Q: I have a medical condition that causes me severe chronic pain. Do I qualify for Social Security disability payments?

A:

We’re sorry to hear that you are living with pain. We hope that you have been able to find medical treatments that can relieve your suffering.

There are many medical conditions that can cause chronic pain, including:

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Spine disorders and vertebral fractures
  • Many cancers
  • Somatoform pain disorder
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Various forms of arthritis
  • Lyme disease
  • Fibroneuralgia
  • Hernias
  • Migraine and other chronic headaches
  • Cystitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome

Chronic pain, by itself, is not enough to make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits in Pennsylvania.

Because pain cannot be independently verified, your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will receive extra scrutiny to determine whether you truly meet the standards for disability. Even if it is obvious that you cannot perform the job you used to do, to be considered disabled you must be able to show you cannot do any job for which you have qualifications. As the applicant, it is your responsibility to provide evidence that you are unable to work.

In preparing to apply for SSDI coverage in Pennsylvania, you will want to collect records that can help you document how much your chronic pain has interfered with your activity level. Some of the evidence you might find useful will be:

  • Health care providers’ reports on your condition
  • Times and dates of hospitalizations, surgeries, and other medical interventions
  • A personal journal describing your daily pain level and other symptoms and describing how your pain has interfered with the activities of daily life
  • A record of the medication you have been prescribed to help alleviate pain

Your Social Security caseworker is required to consider your experience with pain when determining how impaired you are, even though pain cannot be measured objectively. This becomes a factor in evaluating your residual functional capacity, which is Social Security’s term for your ability to work productively. If your residual functional capacity is found to be low enough, you will be classified as disabled and can begin receiving SSDI benefits.

Don’t Let Your Pain Frustrate your SSDI application

Gathering the stamina to apply for SSDI benefits is a tough job, and it’s made even tougher when you are struggling against chronic pain. You need to understand that help is available. Our Social Security lawyers in Harrisburg can work with you at every stage of the process of obtaining disability benefits, from the initial application through the whole appeals process.

To get started, call Schmidt Kramer at 717-888-8888 locally or 888-476-0807 toll-free. We will set up a confidential meeting to review your case—a meeting that is entirely FREE. If you hire us, we will not charge you a penny for legal fees until we win your case. That’s your assurance that we will work tirelessly and aggressively to obtain all the disability benefits you deserve.

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