Social Security Disability lawyers
Home - Social Security Disability
Meet Our Team - Social Security Disability
Legal Articles - Social Security Disability
Online Resources - Social Security Disability
Contact / Directions - Social Security Disability
Submit Your Claim - Social Security Disability

Proving Pain in Disability Claims

For many of our Social Security disability clients, whatever their injury, disease, or condition is, the single most disabling symptom they have is chronic pain. People who are in constant, severe pain simply cannot work all day every day. However, actually proving that a claimant is in pain is very difficult, especially under the rules followed by the Social Security Administration. If you are suffering such chronic pain, this article will provide some helpful information to you.

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at your Social Security disability hearing will consider the pain you experience, and its effect on your ability to do basic work activities, but only after you first establish by “objective medical evidence” that you suffer from a medically determinable physical or mental impairments that could reasonably be expected to produce pain. In other words, it is not enough to say “My back hurts.” There must be evidence in the record demonstrating a cause of the pain.

For example, a bulging disc shown by CAT Scan or MRI is considered to be objective evidence of a physical condition reasonably expected to cause pain. Once this relationship is established, the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of your pain must be considered in determining whether your impairments is severe. In addition, as mentioned previously, the judge at your hearing will consider all your symptoms (including pain) in determining your residual functional capacity (RFC). RFC, in simple terms, is the most activity you can still do after considering the effects of physical and/or mental limitations that affect your ability to perform work-related tasks. Pain will often be severe enough that it impacts a person’s ability to maintain attention and concentration.

The ALJ will make a determination of the credibility of your statements concerning your pain and its functional effects. In determining the credibility of your statements, the judge will consider medical evidence as well as your testimony about pain. The judge is looking to see that your functional limitations and restrictions due to pain are consistent with the other evidence in the case record including the objective medical evidence.

In assessing your credibility the judge will consider many factors including: 

                   · The location, duration, frequency, and intensity of your pain

·  Your daily activities

·  Factors that precipitate and aggravate your pain

·  Treatment other than medication that you receive for pain

·  The type, dosage, effectiveness, and side effects of medication you take to alleviate your pain 

Most importantly, a continuous medical record documenting your attempts to seek medical treatment for pain, and to follow the prescribed treatment, lends support to your allegations of persistent pain. In other words, go to the doctor, and take your medication! We realize that while applying for disability benefits and/or SSI, your money may be tight, and you may lack adequate health insurance. However, many cities offer health care services for free or for a nominal fee. In Dallas, for example, Parkland Hospital offers services for patients who lack adequate income and resources. Our law firm maintains contact information for various other clinics that offer indigent services. Please contact us to determine if there is a free or inexpensive clinic in your area.

At your hearing, the judge will likely ask you where you experience pain and how you would describe it. Pain is often hard to describe, but you should do your best to relate your pain as specifically as possible to the judge. This would include telling the judge what type of pain you experience (burning, stabbing, etc.), how often you experience it, and how you would quantify it (for example, on a scale of 1 to 10). 

By following these suggestions, you will have a much better chance of getting the ALJ to seriously consider your chronic pain in making a determination of disability in your claim.

Kraft & Associates

2777 Stemmons Freeway
Suite 1300
Dallas, Texas 75207

Dallas: (214) 999-9999
Fort Worth: (817) 999-9999
Toll Free: (800) 989-9999
FAX: (214) 637-2118

Please direct general business inquiries to:
Ms. Nita Maki, Office Administrator


Kraft & Associates

Copyright © Kraft & Associates : Attorneys at Law, P.C. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Personal Injury, Automobile Accident, Wrongful Death, Nursing Home Negligence, Social Security Disability.
Web site by, Specializing In Webs For Lawyers - Law Firms