How Does the SSA Define and Evaluate Pain?

It can be almost impossible to measure pain. Pain is subjective in nature, after all. What one person finds to be excruciating another person may be able to tolerate. So when a person is disabled due to pain, how does the Social Security Administration determine whether or not that person is disabled according to the SSA guidelines? Exactly how does the SSA define and evaluate pain when pain is so subjective and varies from one person to the next? How can a disability examiner know if you are telling the truth? The following information will help you understand how the SSA attempts to measure, define and evaluate pain in regards to claims for Social Security Disability benefits.

When defining and evaluating pain, the SSA will take a number of factors into account. Objective medical tests that can provide proof of the cause of pain will go a long way in helping you prove your case to the Social Security Administration. For others, however, who do not have such medical evidence, it can be harder to prove a disability case that is based primarily on symptoms of pain. However, that does not mean that it is impossible to do.

When objective medical evidence cannot be used to determine the extent of someone’s pain the SSA will take into consideration statements from treating physicians, statements from yourself and statements from others who are familiar with your situation. If you have worked in the past, and the pain you suffer from had affected your work (or Substantial Gainful Activity), such records can also be helpful in proving your case for SSD benefits.

With that being said, statements alone will not make a disability case. You must have at least some objective medical evidence that would help prove the source of your pain or that there is indeed a reason for you to be in so much pain that it would interfere with your ability to maintain full time employment.

In many cases, when pain is the main cause of your limitations and inability to work, you may find that you need to appeal an initial denial of your disability claim. Do not let this deter you from pursuing your claim. You will just need to work harder to prove your eligibility to the Social Security Administration. This means appealing the decision (preferably with the help of a Social Security Disability attorney) so that you can receive the benefits you may be entitled to after having your case heard by an Administrative Law Judge.

It is important to remember that nearly 70 percent of all initial disability claims are denied. If yours is one of them do not give up hope. Consult with a disability attorney regarding your pain and how it limits you in your ability to work, and from their experience, they will be able to tell you the ways to move forward.