Disability Benefits for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

October 3, 2021

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can be a painfully debilitating condition. The main symptom of CRPS is severe and prolonged chronic pain (lasting more than six months). The pain can vary in concentration and duration and is sometimes constant. At times, CRPS pain can feel like an intense “pins and needles” burning sensation, and at other times, it can feel as if your arm or leg is being squeezed in a vise. CRPS can also manifest other symptoms like swelling, abnormal sweating, dramatic changes in the color and temperature of the skin, or odd movement of an affected arm or leg. The condition is typically triggered by an injury or trauma, and the pain can spread to the entire limb even when the injury is limited only to a finger or toe.

Doctors will usually prescribe pain medications, physical therapy, nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, or surgery, as singular treatments for CRPS or in combination. However, there is no known cure for CRPS, and no medication has been developed to specifically treat the condition.

Given the severe and constant pain that can accompany CRPS, many who have the syndrome are unable to maintain fulltime-employment. If you are unable to work due to CRPS and your condition has lasted or is expected to last 12 months or longer, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. To determine if you are medically eligible for disability benefits, Social Security has a set of procedures in place. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings” and the medical criteria you must meet to qualify for benefits under each particular listing. But the listings are not comprehensive. Sometimes people have conditions like CRPS that make it impossible to work, but there is no Blue Book listing for their condition.

However, there is a second way to qualify. You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that, due to the limitations of your condition, you’re unable to perform any job in the national economy, considering your age, education, and past work. To qualify, you must demonstrate that the symptoms of your impairment prevent you from sustaining full-time competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis.

To prove that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome prevents you from maintaining fulltime-employment, it is very important to ask your doctor to explain your medical situation, oftentimes using a form called the “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) form. The RFC form measures your physical abilities, and it allows your doctor to explain how your medical conditions limit you from working. The Social Security Administration will consider the RFC form along with other medical evidence to decide whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and your condition has made it impossible for you to hold a job, contact us at Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your situation. Because we work on a contingency basis (we only get paid if you win your case and our fees are limited by law) we are on your side and have a stake in the outcome of your case. The Nash Disability Law attorneys focus exclusively on Social Security Disability law and can persuasively present your case in a way that Social Security can understand. We have offices conveniently near you in Chicago and Palos Hills.