Most medical professionals refer to any pain that lasts in excess of three months as chronic. Data published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2015 showed that 11 percent of all Americans experience daily pain that lasts for at least three months. For most people, this discomfort requires them to go about their lives differently than what they were previously accustomed. But for numerous others, it affects their ability to work.
While it may be debilitating, chronic pain typically does not qualify applicants to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). They, however, may qualify for these benefits if they have another condition that causes them to experience the pain, e.g., peripheral neuropathy, inflammatory arthritis, systemic lupus or spinal disorders.
If you struggle with chronic pain yet haven't been diagnosed with one of the aforementioned conditions, you may still qualify to receive SSDI benefits if you suffer from a related mental illness. At least half of all individuals who experience chronic pain are also diagnosed with depression.
Patients afflicted with chronic pain often experience anxiety, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and certain stress- or trauma-related conditions in addition to depression. Some of these mental health issues are covered by SSDI.
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits isn't easy. You'll be required to undergo extensive evaluations including X-rays, blood work and lab tests to confirm your diagnosis. If your doctor determines that your impairment is likely to last longer than a year or is terminal, then you may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits. You'll have to meet the other criteria established by the Social Security Administration, though.
Many individuals who apply for SSDI for the first time end up having their applications denied. By working one-on-one with a St. Louis Social Security Disability attorney, you'll be able to gain a better perspective of how likely it is that your application will be approved.