Medical Conditions

Portland and Vancouver disability claimants who have pain as the basis of a Social Security disability claim need to provide objective evidence

For many of our Oregon and Washington Social Security disability clients the basis of their disability is chronic pain.

The Social Security Administration requires pain to be associated with a medically determinable impairment

The Social Security regulations require an impairment to be established by “medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings, not only by your statement of symptoms.”

The difficult part of this is that pain is often a very subjective symptom. However, subjective statements about the intensity and disabling effects of pain are not enough for the Social Security Administration. To qualify for disability benefits we must show evidence of medical signs and laboratory findings that show the existence of a “medically determinable impairment.”

Your doctor’s report should support the existence of chronic pain

The medical evidence of your pain (thus making it a medically determinable impairment) will primarily come from your doctor’s report. Even though it is difficult to objectively measure pain, your doctor can observe your symptoms and verify that your symptoms are reasonably consistent with the objective evidence.

An effective doctor’s report will give the Social Security Administration answers to some of the following types of questions:

  • What indicates that the symptoms are consistent with the objective evidence?
  • What indicates that the person is not malingering?
  • Have other people with similar objective evidence had similar symptoms?
  • What is the range of symptoms that could exist with this objective evidence?
  • Other than the objective evidence, what else shows that this person’s description of his or her symptoms is believable?
  • Is this person suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental impairment that could enhance the symptoms?

Advice about testifying for Oregon and Washington Social Security disability claimants whose disability claim is based on chronic pain

It is clear to anyone suffering from intense pain that pain can be so disabling that it makes it impossible to work. However, proving pain as an impairment to the Social Security Administration can be difficult.

Your subjective testimony to the Social Security Administration about your pain

The Social Security Administration’s evaluation of whether or not your pain sufficiently impairs your ability to work is not limited to objective medical evidence, but also includes your subjective testimony. When you testify at your Social Security disability hearing you will want to be prepared to describe:

  • Your pain (with details about where it is located, how it feels, and how often you experience it).
  • The treatment you have undergone (with details about how often you see your doctor, what medications you take or have taken, what other types of treatment you have tried, and what the results of various treatments have been).
  • How the pain restricts you (with details about assistive devices you might use, what daily activities have been changed, how the pain affects you emotionally, and how it impairs your ability to work).

Look to us to help with your Social Security Disability Claim

Establishing proof of an impairment based on pain requires extra care to provide the Social Security Administration with a sufficient record.  But, chronic pain is not the only impairment that will qualify you for Social Security Benefits.  The list below covers some of the most common disabilities:

Get help from a Experienced, Local Social Security lawyer for your Social Security disability claim

It takes careful preparation to prove that chronic pain qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits. If you are not already represented by a Social Security disability lawyer, and would like our evaluation of your case, fill out the form on this page, or contact us at: (360)699-5405.