Collecting Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is an extremely painful and severely disabling condition. It typically usually affects a limb (arm or leg), after an injury, surgery, a stroke, or a heart attack. What characterizes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is that the extreme degree of pain is out of proportion to the normal amount of pain for that type of injury.
The earlier the treatment, the more likely the recovery from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. In some cases of early intervention, improvement and even remission are possible. But, tragically, other CRPS patients live with debilitating pain so severe that it renders them unable to work.
Because Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is relatively uncommon, its causes are still not clearly understood. And when a disease or medical condition is not fully understood, it can make obtaining Social Security Disability benefits all that more difficult.
In this article the experienced Orange County Social Security Disability Attorneys at Cantrell Green discuss the ins and outs of obtaining SSDI benefits for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is also known as is also known as “causalgia” or “reflex sympathetic dystrophy”. CRPS is a condition of the central nervous system that causes one or more limbs to experience:
- Severe pain, burning or throbbing
- Changes in skin color
- Changes in skin temperature
- Sensitivity to touch
- Thin or shiny skin in the affected area
- Joint stiffness and/or damage
- Muscle spasms, tremors, and/or weakness (atrophy)
- Decreased ability to move affected limbs
While it generally starts with one region of the body – such as an arm or a leg) – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can unfortunately spread.
There are two types of CRPS. Type I CRPS “reflex sympathetic dystrophy” (about 90% of CRPS cases) causes pain and atrophy but does not cause significant nerve lesions. It typically occurs after an illness or injury that did NOT directly damage the nerves in the affected limb.
Type II CRPS “causalgia” is rarer (about 10% of cases). It includes noticeable nerve damage and is generally more painful and more difficult to manage than Type I.
And while Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome may be caused by surgery, injury, stroke, or heart attack, there are also many instances of CRPS that remain unexplained.
Can I Get Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
The good news is that the Social Security Administration does recognize Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a potential cause of disability. However, the bad news is that CRPS does not have its own listing in the SSA “Blue Book”. This means that while you can collect Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome you have more to “prove” than if your condition was specifically listed in the Blue Book.
In other words, when a medical condition is in the SSA Blue Book, the applicant more-or-less ‘automatically’ is considered to be disabled. But when a medical condition is not listed in the Blue Book, the applicant must submit documentation to “prove” the condition is a medically determinable impairment that limits one’s ability sufficiently enough that they are unable to perform their former job or any other form of work.
So, one can get Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) … but it isn’t “automatic” and proving it can be difficult.
Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
The SSA does not differentiate between Type I and Type II Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Instead, what they look at is the same as what they look at with any chronic pain condition:
- Has already or is expected to last at least a year.
- Has undergone medical imaging which supports the diagnosis
- Limits residual functional capacity so they are unable to perform their former job or any other form of work.
The SSA will consider how the condition affects the applicant’s activities of daily living and work related activities, including their ability to sit, stand, move around, push, pull, lift, bend, and perform other activities which are expected on a typical job site.
Do I Need an Attorney to Get Social Security Disability for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Unfortunately, the majority of disability claims filed for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are initially denied by the SSA – forcing claimants to pursue the lengthy and complicated appeals process. This is because pain – although debilitating – can be a hard thing to “prove.”
Fortunately, an applicant’s chances of receiving an approval for SSDI benefits doubles when they are represented by an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. This is because a skilled Social Security Disability attorney will be thoroughly familiar with the requirements, procedures, medical documentation, and ‘paperwork’ necessary to win approval for Social Security Disability.
Whether an applicant is in the process of filing their initial Social Security Disability claim – or they are in the appeals process – they are entitled to representation by a Social Security disability attorney. A specialized Social Security attorney can make all the difference between approved SSDI benefit and a denial.
One of the best parts about hiring an expert Social Security Disability attorney is that you pay nothing unless and until your SSDI benefits are approved. And then, when your benefits are approved the SSA pays your attorney fees directly by deducting them from the back pay to which you are entitled.
Social Security Disability Attorneys for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Remember, because there is no listing for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in SSA’s Blue Book, the burden of proving that you are totally disabled by your CRPS is entirely on you and your attorneys. And achieving Social Security Disability benefits because of a Complex Regional Pain Syndrome diagnosis can be difficult because pain is considered subjective and can be very hard to prove.
Our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys have helped Complex Regional Pain Syndrome sufferers in California collect the maximum amount of Social Security Disability benefits to which they are entitled. Call us today and let our Social Security Disability attorneys help you collect the benefits for which you qualify.
Social Security Disability Attorneys | Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: 800-964-8047