Long Island, New York disability lawyer explains the way that the Social Security Administration considers a disability based on pain

Establishing pain as a disability to the Social Security Administration can be a little more difficult than some other grounds for disability because pain is so difficult to observe and measure.

With some other disabilities, the existence and extent of the disability can be shown to the Social Security Administration through medical records. However, with pain as the basis for a disability claim, two different types of evidence are needed:

  • Objective medical evidence.
  • Subjective evidence.

Three steps to proving pain as a disability to the Social Security Administration

When you are establishing a disability that qualifies for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, you follow three steps in the proof:

  1. You must show that you have a medically determinable impairment.
  2. You must show that this medically determinable impairment is capable of causing the type and extent of pain that you are claiming.
  3. You must prove that this pain limits your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to the extent that you are unable to work.

The first two of these three steps are primarily medical issues, so the evidence for them comes from medical opinion that is provided in medical records.

The third step, regarding the extent of the limitation from your pain, is a combination of medical issues that can be proven by objective evidence and more subjective matters that require evidence from your own testimony and the testimony of witnesses.

The type of medical evidence that will help establish your pain as qualifying for Social Security disability benefits

When the Social Security Administration reviews a medical report that supports a claim for disability benefits based on chronic pain, the Social Security Administration is looking for evidence from the doctor that the extent of pain that you are claiming is realistic and believable.

Therefore, the Social Security Administration looks for answers to the following types of questions when it analyzes your doctor’s report:

  • Did the doctor correctly analyze the objective evidence?
  • What makes the doctor sure that you are not malingering?
  • Has the doctor seen other patients with similar objective findings who have similar symptoms?
  • What symptoms are consistent with the objective evidence?
  • Are there things other than the objective evidence that indicate that your description of your symptoms is believable?

Get help with your disability claim from a knowledgeable Nassau / Suffolk Social Security lawyer

When pain prevents you from working you may qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits.

If you are not already represented by a New York disability lawyer, and would like our evaluation, give use a brief description of your claim using the form on this page, or contact us.