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Does Chronic Pain Qualify Me for Social Security Disability Benefits?

chronic pain, Chicago Social Security Disability Benefit AttorneysIf you are in constant pain and unable to work, you may want to consider applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. While chronic pain is not, in and of itself, a legal disability, it may indicate an underlying physical or mental impairment. Even if doctors are unable to determine the exact cause of your chronic pain, they may still be able to diagnose you with a condition that qualifies you for disability. Over the next few weeks, we will discuss chronic pain and conditions that may cause it. (Update: the second, third, and fourth posts are now available.)

What Is Chronic Pain?

The term “chronic pain” is a bit vague. According to the National Institutes for Health, chronic pain “is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks.” In contrast to the acute pain that someone experiences immediately following an injury, chronic pain is much more persistent and can last for months or even years.

Chronic pain may be rooted in a physical injury or illness, but in many cases, there is no clear cause of chronic pain. Indeed, chronic pain can occur in many areas of the body for a multitude of reasons. There are even documented pain disorders such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), where a patient experiences ongoing severe pain that is disproportionate to the injury that may have originally caused the pain.

When Does Chronic Pain Become a Disability?

Social Security will not award a person disability benefits based solely on subjective complaints of chronic pain. As far as Social Security is concerned, pain is a symptom, not a disability. The government therefore requires medical evidence of a physical or mental impairment causing the chronic pain.

There are a number of medical conditions that produce chronic pain and may qualify as a disability. For example, fibromyalgia is a muscular disorder that is known to amplify painful sensations throughout the body. Osteoarthritis is another common condition that produces chronic pain in a person’s joints. There are also certain types of mental illness that produce chronic pain as a symptom.

The important thing to keep in mind is that a disability applicant needs to provide some evidence of a demonstrable medical condition. Social Security will reject a disability claim based solely on complaints of chronic pain, regardless of the severity. Many, if not most, Social Security administrative law judges believe undocumented pain claims are simply made up by the applicant.

Get Help From a Chicago Disability Lawyer

Dealing with Social Security is never easy. A disability case can take many months or years to resolve. In many cases, an applicant will lose during his or her first attempt. That is why you should always work with an experienced Chicago Social Security Disability attorney. Contact us today for assistance.



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