Reflex Sympathetic Disorder (also referred to as RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) is a disorder that affects the central nervous system of the body. The intense pain associated with this condition can make it impossible to perform normal day-to-day activities, let alone hold down a full-time job. Because of this, many of the people who suffer from the condition wonder whether or not they might qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you suffer from Reflex Sympathetic Disorder and are wondering if you might be able to receive benefits, the following information can help you understand how the Social Security Administration (SSA) views RSD and what you can expect during the Social Security Disability application process.
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder - Condition and Symptoms
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder is a condition that affects multiple parts of the body including the skin, muscles, blood vessels, nerves and bones. When a patient suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Disorder all of these parts of the body are affected. Unfortunately, RSD is a progressive condition. Seventy percent of the patients who suffer from the condition will experience a spreading of the symptoms. If, for example, the RSD symptoms begin in the foot, it is not uncommon for the symptoms to eventually spread up through the foot through the ankle and the leg.
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder most commonly affects the hands and the feet, although some patients do experience symptoms in the knees, hips and shoulders, as well as other areas of the body. There are generally three stages of Reflex Sympathetic Disorder. Initially the patient suffering from the condition will experience severe burning pain. Sometimes the color and temperature of the skin surrounding the area will change. A loss of movement ability is also common. As the disorder progresses a person may experience sensitivity to changes in temperature or humidity. Even a light breeze or touch can inflict severe pain. It is not uncommon for the affected area to become pale and waxy in appearance. Oftentimes the area will begin to spread and this may sometimes result in muscle spasms. When x-rays are taken, they will usually show damage to the joints and bones.
During the third stage of the disorder the skin of the area will become drawn and there will be notable damage to the tissues in the affected area. Although the pain will often remain severe during this stage, it may actually decrease from the amount of pain experienced in previous stages of the condition.
It is estimated that nearly half of all cases of Reflex Sympathetic Disorder can be cured. For the other half of patients who cannot be cured, the symptoms of the condition can make it impossible to work. Because of this, those who suffer from RSD should consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits if the condition cannot be reversed.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Reflex Sympathetic Disorder
Although there is no listing for Reflex Sympathetic Disorder in SSA's Listings of Impairments, it is still possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits when making a claim based on the condition.
In order to be approved for disability benefits due to RSD you will need to be able to prove that your case of RSD is severe enough to prevent you from performing any work. This means providing the Social Security Disability examiner with ample medical evidence, work history and even a consultative exam.
Reflex Sympathetic Disorder and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are suffering from Reflex Sympathetic disorder you will need a professional diagnosis proving your condition in order to qualify for disability benefits. Your medical records will need to prove that your condition is so severe that you are unable to work. Because of this, you should be talk to your doctor about how your condition is affecting your day-to-day life. This is very important as it will provide you with the medical documentation needed to show how the Reflex Sympathetic Disorder is affecting your work ability for purposes of your Social Security Disability claim.
It is not uncommon for those suffering from Reflex Sympathetic Disorder to be denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial stage of the application process. Overall, only 30 percent of the individuals who apply for Social Security Disability are approved at the initial level. If you are one of the other 70 percent who are denied benefits at this stage of the process, you should go on to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving notice of the decision.
If are filing for Social Security Disability benefits due to Reflex Sympathetic Disorder, you may want to consider retaining a Social Security Disability lawyer to represent you. Your chances of successfully winning your case increase significantly with the proper representation.