When people are asked to list their disabling conditions on their application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, many forget to list something that’s a common feature of many different conditions: Pain.
If you forget this detail when you file your paperwork, you could inadvertently tank your claim.
Why should you have to list “pain” as a separate condition?
If, for example, you have a well-known condition like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, of which pain is a major feature, it probably sounds absurd to hear that you should list “pain” as a separate condition that limits you — but it’s not.
Pain is a subjective experience. Two people can have identical conditions in all respects — their lab tests and x-rays may all look the same, they may take the same medications and experience all the other same effects of their disease — but they may still experience pain very differently. What can be debilitating pain to one person may barely register with another.
In other words, Social Security can’t tell that pain is a factor in what makes you disabled unless you tell them it’s a factor.
Once you’ve made it clear that pain is a major problem that limits your work activity (and general life activities), SSA will look at both the objective evidence (for medical signs and laboratory findings that support the idea that you do, in fact, suffer from pain) and the subjective evidence available (such as your statements, your doctor’s observations of your pain, a pain diary and so on).
It’s very important that, throughout your claims process, you continuously emphasize how pain limits your ability to function both in your occupation and in your daily life. Make sure, too, that you mention your pain at every doctor’s visit so that it continues to appear in your doctors’ notes. Something as simple as that can often make the difference between an approval and a denial where a disability claim is concerned.