Social Security Disability (SSDI & SSI) and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

SAN DIEGO DISABILITY ATTORNEY COMMENTS ON SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY AND REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY

We presently  have  a client who has  been diagnosed with REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY (RSD) also known as COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROM (CRPS).  RSD is a unique clinical syndrome that may  develop following trauma, severe or minor. Claimants with RSD typically report burning, aching, or searing pain that  starts out at  the  site  of the  trauma and can then spread to other limbs or parts of the body. In our  case, our claimant is a 30 year old women who fractured her finger playing football. She had surgery on the  finger but it  ever healed properly. She can’t bend  it  or  make  a fist. After the  surgery  her hand  started to swell and tingle. She also had a burning , searing pain first in the injured hand and then in her other, non-injured hand. Thereafter she developed symptoms all over  her  body  including both her  lower extremities. The pain and spasms are so bad that both her feet contract inward during an episode making it extremely difficult for her to walk. She certainly  can no longer do her  job  as a certified nurses assistant.

The Disability Lawyers  with  the  San Diego Disability Law Group analyze  each case according to the sequential evaluation process applied to all initial Social Security insurance claims and all adult SSI claims i.e. 1) Is the  claimant presently engaged in substantial gainful activity; 2) Does the  claimant have  a severe impairment; 3) Does the impairment meet or  equal a listed impairment; 4) Does the impairment prevent the  claimant from performing past relevant work and 5) Does the impairment prevent the  performance of other work considering the claimant’s age, education and prior work experience.

The Social Security  Administration publishes a Listing of Impairments with medical evidence requirements which, if met, are conclusive of social security disability. Sometimes however, a severe condition like REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY is not  listed in the Listing of Impairments but is addressed in a Social Security Policy Interpretation Ruling.  In preparing this case,  the Disability Lawyers at the San Diego Disability  Law  Group referenced SSR 03-02P ” EVALUATING REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY SYNDROME/COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME”.

SSR 03-02P acknowledges that RSD/CRPS is a chronic  pain syndrome most often resulting from trauma to a single extremity and that patients typically report persistent, burning, aching or searing pain that is initially localized to the site  of the  injury. The degree of pain is often out of proportion to the severity of the precipitating injury and cases  have  been reported to progress and spread  to other limbs, or to remote parts of the body (Like  in our  case).

The Social Security Act defines “disability” as the inability to engage in any  substantial gainful activity by  reason of any  medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be  expected to result in death or which has  lasted or can be  expected to last for a continuous period of not less that  12 months. The act also requires that the impairment result form anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be  shown by  medically  acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic  techniques.

     SSR 03-02P states that, for purposes  of Social Security disability evaluation, RSD/CRPS can be established in the presence of persistent complaints of pain that  are  typically out  of proportion to the  severity of any documented precipitant and one or more of the following clinically documented signs in the  affected region at any time following the documented precipitant: 1) Swelling; 2) Autonomic  instability i.e. changes in skin color or texture,changes in sweating(decreased or excessive sweating); 3) changes is skin temperature; 4)Abnormal hair or nail growth;  5) Osteoporosis; or 6) involuntary  movements of the  affected region of the  initial injury.

The Disability Attorneys with  the  San Diego Disability  Law Group know that it  is important in RSD/CRPS cases to present longitudinal treatment records which document the above referenced  criteria in order to make the strongest case possible for RSD/CRPS claimants.

As a claimant with  RSD/CRPS it is extremely  important for you to continually tell you  treating doctors about your symptoms and the  effect that your symptoms have on your  activities of daily living and your ability to function. Develop a longitudinal medical record that clearly documents your RSD/CRPS symptoms. Documenting your symptoms will enable your Disability Lawyer to present the  best claim possible.

If you or any  friend or family  member  has a Social Security Disability claim or question, contact the Disability Attorneys  at  the  San Diego Disability Law Group for a free consultation at 619-238-9000.

 

 

                   

 

    

 

 

 

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