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I offer a free consultation, and my SSDI clients do not pay legal fees unless they win their claims.
SSDI & SSI Disability Claims Based on Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Law Offices of Stuart Pastor — Austin and Plano, Texas
In any Social Security disability claim it is necessary to show that the claimant has a medically determinable impairment. Once it is established that you suffer from reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), then Social Security must determine to what extent the disease limits your functioning, and whether you are able to work on a full-time basis, eight hours per day, five days per week or an equivalent schedule.
Claims for Social Security disability based on RSD/CRPS are challenging because the primary symptom of the disease is pain, and there is no objective method of measuring pain. The majority of RSD/CRPS claims do not receive a favorable decision based on the initial application or on reconsideration.
For precisely that reason, SSDI claims arising from reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome call for the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability attorney as early in the case as possible so that an evidentiary record is developed that supports a determination of disability at the earliest possible date.
Ruling SSR 03-02 from the Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration has issued a ruling concerning reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD) and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Under SSR 03-02, RSD/CRPS is established by evidence of persistent complaints of pain that are out of proportion to the severity of any precipitating injury or medical event, along with one or more of the following clinically documented signs in the affected region:
- Changes in skin color or texture, decreased or excessive sweating, changes in skin temperature, abnormal pilomotor erection (gooseflesh)
- Abnormal hair or nail growth
- Involuntary movements of the affected region
These symptoms need not be present continuously.
Social Security recognizes in Ruling 03-2p that the intense chronic pain that is the hallmark of RSD/CRPS and many medications prescribed to treat it may diminish the claimant’s capacity to concentrate and affect the claimant’s mood.
Please click here to learn more about Ruling SSR 03-02p from the Social Security Administration.
Talk to Your Doctor: Report Your Symptoms
The person evaluating your disability benefits claim will ask your doctor for information about your medical condition and its effects on your functioning. Your physician will not be able to accurately answer this question unless you inform your doctor of the full extent of your limitations.
Sometimes people with RSD/CRPS are able to perform various activities, but only for a very limited period of time. Some people with RSD/CRPS experience so much pain that by a certain time of day they have to lie down. Your doctor should be made aware of whatever limitations you experience. Do not assume that because you told your doctor your limitations once, that he or she will assume that you continue to suffer such limitations. As long as you experience a particular symptom or limitation, you should be reporting it to your doctor.
Social Security will look to your medical records as a source of information about your symptoms and limitations. A conflict between what you tell Social Security about your symptoms and limitations and what your medical records reveal about them can result in the denial of your claim.
Keep a Journal of Your Symptoms
Many Social Security disability claims are denied initially and must be appealed to the hearing level. Months or even several years may go by before a hearing is held. You will be more capable of answering questions about the impact of your medical condition on your functioning if you maintain a journal or diary that includes your daily activities. Entries should be as specific as possible. Whenever you are unable to do an activity that you had planned, you should note it in your journal.
There are certain clinical tests to which Social Security attaches special importance. If these clinical tests have not been performed, an experienced Social Security disability attorney may suggest that your doctor or an appropriate physician perform the tests to strengthen your case. Even if your case has been denied it is possible that such tests have been performed, and the results are supportive of your claim, but the person who decided your case overlooked them. An experienced Social Security disability attorney will highlight the medical findings in your medical records that support your claim under the guidelines that Social Security has issued.
We Can Start Your Case with a Phone Call
For some of my clients, traveling to a lawyer's office is difficult. I am happy to confer by telephone. We can get started on your case by telephone, and the exchange of paperwork through the mail. In some cases I am able to make home visits.
Contact My Office to Schedule a Free Consultation
I have successfully represented many people suffering from RSD/CRPS. If you or a family member suffers from such a disability, please do not hesitate to call me.
Three Convenient Office Locations:
In Austin: 512-687-3443
In Dallas: 214-800-2022
In Plano: 972-599-2600
Toll Free: 888-616-6162
Or send an e-mail.