How does Social Security evaluate pain?

Most Lynchburg disability attorneys will agree: Building a Social Security disability case based on a claimant’s pain is a challenging endeavor. The challenge lies in the fact that pain is subjective. Only you know the true nature and extent of your pain.

The Social Security Administration uses a two-step analysis to evaluate pain claims. First, the decision-maker looks for “objective medical evidence” to establish that your impairment could cause pain. Second, the decision-maker considers “all the available evidence” related to the intensity and persistence of your pain, and its impact on your daily life.

Does objective medical evidence establish the fact of pain?

“Objective medical evidence” is the type of evidence typically found in medical records; it is evidece that can be reliably documented and duplicated. Objective medical evidence includes medical test results; lab results; X-rays and other scans; and other evidence established by clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques.

Does all the available evidence demonstrate that your pain is disabling?

Once the decision-maker is satisfied that you may, in fact, be experiencing pain as a result of your impairment, he will turn his attention to the nature of that pain. During this part of the analysis, the decision-maker will consider all evidence, including subjective evidence, related to the following:

  • The location, duration, and frequency of your pain;
  • The intensity of your pain;
  • Any medications you take to alleviate the pain, including the effectiveness and side-effects of that medication;
  • Your other efforts to alleviate the pain; and
  • The effect of pain on your daily activities and your ability to function.

This type of evidence usually takes the form of written statements and/or testimony provided by you; your treating doctor or other expert witnesses; and your family, friends or other lay witnesses. The Social Security rules and regulations provide that the decision-maker must consider all pain-related restrictions and limitations that are reasonably consistent with the available evidence in determining whether you are “under a disability” and entitled to an award of benefits.

To learn more about the role of your physician’s opinion on your Chicago social security case, visit Fred Daley’s website today.

Contact Lynchburg disability attorneys for help establishing the disabling nature of your pain

As real as your pain is to you, it can be difficult to persuade the Social Security decision-maker that it prevents you from working. We can help by (1) gathering all relevant medical evidence and providing the decision-maker with a complete medical record that establishes the fact of your pain; and (2) making sure you and your witnesses are well prepared for your disability hearing, so that you can provide detailed testimony that paints a clear picture of the impact of your pain.

If you would like to discuss your claim for benefits with our experienced Lynchburg disability attorneys, please use the Free Claim Evaluation form on this page to tell us about your situation, or call or email us directly.