Chronic pain can be the basis for Social Security disability benefits

People who suffer from chronic pain sometimes have trouble convincing the Social Security Administration that their pain prevents them from working. However, it is possible to get Social Security disability benefits for pain.

As I explain to my Florida disability clients who are plagued by chronic pain, presenting a case to the Social Security Administration that is based on pain requires a combination of two different types of evidence: objective evidence from medical records and reports, and subjective evidence from testimony about the severity of the pain.

Seven things the Social Security Administration considers when it evaluates whether chronic pain qualifies as a disability

If your Social Security disability claim is based on chronic pain, then in addition to the objective medical evidence that it considers, the Social Security Administration is required by its own regulations to also look at the following matters:

  1. Your daily activities.
  2. The location, duration, frequency, and intensity of your pain or your other symptoms.
  3. Any factors that that might precipitate and aggravate your symptoms.
  4. The medication that you either take or have taken to alleviate your pain. This includes looking at the type of medication, the dosage you take, the effectiveness, and any side effects.
  5. Other types of treatment (other than medication) that you have received for relief of your pain.
  6. Things other than treatment that you use or have used to relieve your pain.
  7. Anything else about your functional limitations and restrictions that are due to your pain.

The Social Security Administration needs objective evidence to approve disability benefits for chronic pain

Pain is a very subjective thing, and different people experience it differently. Two people can have the same injury or condition, but one may suffer from much more pain than the other. However, the Social Security Administration does not rely solely on subjective evidence, but requires objective evidence about your chronic pain.

That is, there must be some supporting objective medical evidence about your pain. This objective medical evidence comes from your medical records and reports and is based on medical signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings.

Your chronic pain must be connected to a medically determinable impairment

The objective medical evidence that the Social Security Administration reviews for your disability claim must show that there is a medically determinable impairment that would cause the pain that prevents you from working. That is, the doctor’s reports must show an underlying physical or mental impairment that could reasonably be expected to cause the pain. The impairment must be an anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormality that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques.

Thus, your statements about how your pain causes problems and prevents you from doing things are not enough. The Social Security Administration requires medical signs and laboratory findings that show the existence of a medical impairment that is consistent with your subjective evidence of chronic pain.

Get a knowledgeable Florida Social Security lawyer to help you with the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration rules are technical and complex, and the process of establishing a claim based on chronic pain can be confusing and frustrating. Having a Social Security disability lawyer working for you can take some of the worry away and increase your chances of success.

If you are not already represented by a Florida Social Security disability attorney, contact me for an evaluation of your case.

You may email my office, or fill out the form to the right.

Deirdre DiBiaggio
Coral Gables and Miami Social Security disability attorney


27 Almeria Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

137 W Royal Palm Rd,
Boca Raton, FL 33432

14 N.E. 1st Avenue, Suite 1107
Miami, FL 33132

T: 305.443.1212
F: 305.443.0125