Chronic Pain as a Basis for Social Security Disability Benefits: Part 2-- Intensity and Persistence
If you have a medically determinable impairment, that is -- your medical records and doctors’ reports illustrate an underlying physical or mental impairment that could reasonably be expected to cause your pain, the Social Security Administration next evaluates the intensity and persistence of your pain to determine how it limits your ability to perform basic work activities. The Social Security Administration will consider all evidence that has been presented including, but not limited to, your medical history and findings and statements from you, your treating physicians, or other persons, regarding how you are affected by your pain. The Social Security Administration will also consider medical opinions of doctors who have treated or examined you.
In addition to objective medical evidence, the Social Security Administration also considers the following in evaluating your pain:
- Your daily activities;
- The location, duration, frequency, and intensity of your pain or other symptoms;
- Factors that may cause or exacerbate your pain;
- Medications you take or have taken to treat your pain, including the type of medication, the dosage, the effectiveness and any side effects;
- Treatments, other than medication, you receive or have received for your pain;
- Steps, other than treatment, you have taken to relieve your pain (e.g., lying down, standing for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, sleeping on a board, etc.); and
- Other factors relating to your functional limitations and restrictions that are due to your pain.
Due to the subjectivity of pain and the resulting difficulty in measuring it, the Social Security Administration is required to consider any limitations that are reported by you, your treating or examining doctors, or other persons that are consistent with objective medical evidence and other evidence presented in your case.
For some Florida Social Security disability claimants, their pain may be even more severe than the objective medical evidence suggests. There are several medical conditions, such as back pain and arthritis, in which the objective medical evidence may not support the symptoms. Simply because the intensity and persistence of your pain are more severe than the objective medical evidence may demonstrate, the Social Security Administration will not necessarily reject them. Rather, the Social Security Administration must consider the integrity of your statements based on a consideration of the complete case record.
Contact experienced Ocala Social Security disability lawyer Claudeth Henry at (352) 304-5300 to discuss establishing a claim based on chronic pain or to discuss your claim for Social Security disability benefits.