CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
According to theNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, CRPS orComplex Regional Pain Syndrome is a "a chronic pain condition that is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems."
This condition may be caused by surgery or an injury. Other times the reason the condition develops is unknown. What doctors often find is that a claimant may have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) but they are unable to find documented clinical or objective findings which account for the severity of the pain the claimant is experiencing.
It is also common for the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) to come and go. But regardless, it is important that individuals continue to receive the proper treatment for their condition.
Common Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
According to the Mayo Clinic patients who suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) may experience the following symptoms of their condition:
- Throbbing pain which generally exhibits in the claimant's arms, legs, feet or hands
- Overly sensitive to cold or touch
- Swelling in the affected area
- Skin changes such as coloring and texture
- Stiffness in the joints
- Muscle atrophy
- Decreased mobility in the affected body region
How can I win Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for CRPS?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two ways to determine if a claimant is disabled and unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) work for at least 12 continuous months. First, the SSA will determine your health condition is on their Listing of Impairments which is a list of all the conditions and their corresponding symptoms that the SSA considers automatically disabling. Next, if your condition is not on the SSA Listing of Impairments they will determine, through a medical vocational allowance, if you have the remaining capacity to work.
The SSA does not have a listing for CRPS so it will be up to you, as the SSDI applicant, to prove that your condition is so limiting that you cannot work. How do you do that? First, you will need specific medical documentation about your condition. This can include evidence of swelling, osteoporosis, changes in skin color, skin temperature, sweating, and abnormal hair or nail growth.
Next, you will need information from a medical health professional which clearly outlines your limitations to work. Some doctors are willing to complete what is called a Residual Capacity Form or RFC form which will outline your work limitations. This is not required, but if you have a doctor who is willing to help, it can be beneficial to ask them to fill out this form.
Why do you need an RFC form? Medical files generally include treatment notes, but these notes may only identity the signs and symptoms of your condition. What they may not specifically address is your ability to perform work.
What does the SSA consider under the medical vocational allowance process?
They will consider the effects of your pain and its treatment on your capacity to do "sustained work-related physical and mental activities in a competitive work setting on a regular and continuing basis." This type of information is exactly what an RFC form is used to document and why this form can be so beneficial for your SSDI or SSI case.
If you have questions about your condition or what medical information you might need to win your SSDI case, contact a disability lawyer for a free case evaluation.
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