Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Summer 2013, Issue 9 - Page 20

Filing SSDI can be shown by objective medical evidence alone, the adjudicator is required to consider carefully the individual’s statements about his pain with the rest of the relevant evidence in the case record. Excerpts from personal journals or daily logs can help individuals document the effects of their condition and assist SSA examiners with the following factors they must consider in assessing claims based on chronic pain: 1. Determine if an individual is engaging in “substantial gainful activity,” according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,040 a month is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits. 2. Conclude the chronic pain disability is severe enough to significantly limit the ability to perform basic activities needed to do most jobs. For example: • Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling • Seeing, hearing and speaking • Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions • Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations • Dealing with changes in a routine work setting 3. The SSA is required to consider pain and the limitations imposed by pain caused by a medically determinable severe impairment, established by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. Because symptoms, such as pain, sometime suggest a greater severity of impairment than 20  Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain • The individual’s daily activities. • The location, duration, frequency and intensity of the pain or other symptoms. • Factors that precipitate and aggravate the symptoms. • The type, dosage, effectiveness and side effects of any medication the individual takes or has taken to alleviate pain or other symptoms. • Treatment, other than medication, the individual receives, or has received, for relief of pain or other symptoms. • Any measures, other than treatment, the individual uses, or has used, to relieve pain or other symptoms (e.g., lying flat on his/her back, standing for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or sleeping on a board). • Any other factors concerning the individual’s functional limitations and restrictions due to pain or other symptoms. 4. Determine if an individual can perform work they have done in the past, despite their chronic pain. If the SSA finds that a person can do his past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step. 5. Review age, education, work experience Life Summer 2013