For those who are suffering from chronic pain, there is little that words can do to describe to another person what it is like. Unfortunately, when you are dealing with the Social Security Administration you need to use your words to convey your pain. But for many, those words don’t seem like they are enough.
Pain plays a significant role in getting disability benefits, but it is often quite difficult to get your pain taken seriously. You are going to have to jump through the hoops that the SSA has set out. But even this is often not enough, as many who suffer from pain have had to rely on appealing their denial.
How Do You Prove Your Pain to the Social Security Administration?
The problem with pain is that it is not something that other people can see or understand. If you lost an arm, that’s pretty straightforward and easy to understand. They can look over your person and immediately see how your disability would reduce your capacity to work.
We only understand another person’s pain when we see a broken arm or healing cut. The visual element of it makes it easier for us to understand. But most pain is invisible. How do you explain to somebody else that your head pounds so hard most days that you think it’s going to split apart? If the person knows you, then they’ll see how the pain affects you but not the pain itself. Unfortunately, to get benefits you need to convince some people that don’t know the first thing about you.
They will use a pain questionnaire to try to understand what you’re going through with questions about how much pain you feel, where you feel it, how often you feel it, and the like. But questions only go so far. Some people are predisposed to assume everybody is lying about their pain and it could be that individual responsible for approving your benefits.
Proof is also necessary but this still may result in a denial.
What Happens If The Social Security Administration Rejects My Pain?
Denials are fairly common with applications based primarily on pain. However, the appeal process is often a little easier to get approval. The reason for this is because appeals must go before an Administrative Law Judge. While that’s a fancy title, what it truly means is that you must go in front of another human being.
Testimony is one of the strongest pieces of evidence that can be provided in cases like this. That’s because the effects of the pain you are experiencing can often be seen in how you walk, how exhausted you are by simple tasks, and things we often don’t consider along these lines. These are points that don’t come across in a questionnaire but that can be seen with our eyes in real time and make a profound impact on a person.
You can also take the time to gather more evidence of your condition to bring to the appeal. A consultative exam can provide you with more evidence to present to prove your point but statements from your doctors and records of your pain medications can also provide further evidence.
Can an Attorney Help?
If the system was perfect then everybody that dealt with chronic pain would be approved for disability benefits without all the hassle. Unfortunately the system is complex, slow, and it often feels stuck in its own ways.
Navigating the system can make you feel trapped, stuck with dealing with your pain on your own. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s an attorney’s job to understand and keep up with how the system works so you don’t have to. You can focus on resting and managing your pain while your attorney takes care of the bureaucracy for you and helps you to get the benefits you deserve.