Monday, October 15, 2007

Denial of Disability, Pain, and Medical Records

I came across an interesting article that was not related to social security disability or SSI. It was actually a post on an individual's blog in which the person described his reaction to being denied for disability on an LTD claim.

He said he was expecting to receive a disability claim denial, was nonethless stunned when the notice came in the mail, and, though he was informed that he does not meet the requirements of disability, he does not believe the pain levels he is experiencing allow him to work.

The feelings described by this individual are not unlike what I would expect to hear from an individual who has been denied for SSD or SSI, particularly an individual whose impairment, or impairments, are the source of considerable and limiting pain (such as back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and crohn's.

The problem, of course, with the issue of pain is that disability adjudicators (whether they work for insurance companies as adjusters or for the social security administration as disability examiners and judges) cannot, in most cases, objectively rate and qualify pain. Why is this? I would have to say it is largely due to the fact that physicians do not attempt to record and quantify chronic pain in their medical records.

Unfortunately, the way disability evaluation systems work, both private and government-run, nothing an applicant for disability benefits experiences (and that includes loss of coordination, loss of muscle strength, loss of reflexes, loss range of motion, loss of mobility, as well as pain) really matters much if their medical records have little to say about it.

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