Chronic Pain Syndrome

Attorneys Skilled in Pursuing Government Benefits for Massachusetts Residents

Chronic pain syndrome (“CPS”) is often described as generalized pain that persists for more than three to six months. Its cause is not well known, and there is a debate in the medical community about whether CPS is organic, psychosomatic, or some combination of the two. People afflicted by this condition may be able to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The dedicated government benefits lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have been representing Massachusetts clients for more than 20 years. As seasoned advocates, we have developed the skills required to navigate complex Social Security cases, appeals, and medical determinations. Based in Boston, we have helped Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island residents present the strongest possible arguments for benefits based on conditions like chronic pain syndrome.

Filing a Claim Based on Chronic Pain Syndrome

Your application for SSDI must link your chronic pain to what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls a “medically determinable” physical or mental impairment. Your medical records must contain objective evidence of debilitating, chronic pain supported by charted symptoms and laboratory tests.

You may be entitled to disability benefits if you are unable to work because of a medical condition that is anticipated to last at least one year or result in death. When evaluating an application, SSA typically refers to its Listing of Impairments. This is a group of medical conditions that are considered severe enough to prevent a person from working and therefore qualify that person for disability benefits.

CPS and chronic pain are not listed impairments, but a number of listed impairments can cause chronic pain and may qualify you for benefits. Some examples include:

  • Back injury (Section 1.04)
  • Inflammatory arthritis (Section 14.09)
  • Neurological disorders (Section 11.00)

If any of these conditions causes chronic, debilitating pain that prevents you from working, you may be able to receive benefits under those listings. However, it is more likely that a disability claim based on chronic pain will be evaluated through a “residual functional capacity” (RFC) assessment. These evaluations are used in disability determinations that require a medical decision when the claimant’s impairment is severe, the impairment is not listed, and it is necessary to determine the claimant’s ability to perform “substantial gainful activity.”

An RFC assessment is an evaluation based on medical evidence, including lay evidence and the applicant’s own subjective understanding of his or her pain and injury, that describes what an applicant is able to do and determines his or her capacity to engage in work-related activities. Since pain is largely subjective, it is important that the medical record you present in the disability application fully captures how your chronic pain prevents you from working full-time, which treatments you have undertaken to address the pain, and how it affects you in your daily life.

You also may qualify for disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS), sometimes known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This is a chronic condition resulting from traumatic injury to a bone or soft tissue. RSDS is also not a listed impairment, so you must show that it amounts to a medically determinable impairment that prevents you from working and is expected to last more than a year.

Discuss Your Social Security Application with a Massachusetts Lawyer

The experienced Social Security attorneys at the Massachusetts firm of Kantrovitz & Associates can work with you and your health care providers to gather all the medical records, tests results, and paperwork required to make a persuasive disability application. We are proud to serve ordinary people in Suffolk, Plymouth, Norfolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. If you have questions about whether your chronic pain qualifies you for disability benefits, the attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates can help. Contact our office today by calling us toll-free at 1-800-367-0871 or using the online form on our website.