RSD, CRPS  and Social Security Disability

RSD has become a more common diagnosis in Social Security Disability claims.  It is also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSDS) and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type 1 (CRPS)  I will discuss what the disease is and how the limitations from the condition can show you are disabled for SSDI or SSI.

Also called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome this condition can affect an individual in multiple ways and every individual case may have different limitations as a result.  Below I will talk about RSD and its symptoms and then explain how those symptoms relate to a claim for benefits.  I will also explain how a specific Social Security Ruling affects how claims for RSDS are handled.  This page is important to understanding your case but be sure to go back to my home page on Social Security Disability to continue your research on SSD and SSI claims in general.  As an SSD lawyer for many years, I have had many clients with this condition so if you have any questions call me at 1-877-527-5529.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSDS), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Type I (CRPS)

RSD usually originates from some sort of trauma.  It can be started by a sprain, muscle pull, bruise, surgery, or other injury.  For some reason the nervous system and immune system don't work properly and send signals through the nervous system to the brain that you have constant pain.  The pain is often times very severe.  The condition also sometimes spreads to other parts of the body.  Some symptoms besides pain that may occur are loss of hair, skin color change, swelling, sensitivity to cold or heat, sensitivity to touch, and may even result in decrease range of motion or loss of use of an area.  People who have this condition also often get depression as a result of dealing with the symptoms and inability to find treatment that works.  I also have found in the course of representing RSD claims that the individuals who have the condition often contemplate suicide because of the great deal of pain involved.  So if you have the condition it would be a good idea to start seeing a psychiatrist as soon as you start to show signs of being depressed.  RSD is also most common in women.

There is not a listing for this medical condition but one can argue that they equal one of the other listings.  In a Social Security Disability or SSI claim it is the limitations caused by Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome that shows one is disabled.  Some limitations that are shown in these types of cases are loss of use of extremities, pain causing inability to focus, trouble walking or standing long, and limitations resulting from the subsequent depression.  With this conditions the number of possible limitations is enormous.  The important thing to remember is that you should be under constant medical treatment.  You will need your doctors to state there opinions of your limitations and it must be backed up by proper diagnosis and treatment records.  A detailed physical RFC is a must and a mental RFC if you also suffer from depression as a result of your RSD.

If you are looking for more information on RSD click on this link.

How is RSD (CRPS) SSD SSI Disability Claim Handled?

In Social Security Ruling 03-2p SSA recognizes several things about RSD. This ruling makes it clear that pain is the biggest symptom of this condition and that this pain may interfere with a claimants ability to work by interfering with the claimant's ability to maintain attention and concentration in a work setting and that the medications that treat RSDS may also cause side effects that could interfere with an individual's ability to work. This ruling was developed to give a better understanding of how RSD affects individuals and how these claims should be handled in a Social Security disability claim for RSDS. SSR 03-2p notes establishment of the disease can be found by "persistent complaints of pain that are typically out of proportion to the severity of any documented precipitant". The rule also states the claimant should have one if not more of the following in the area affected: swelling, autonomic instability (changes in the skin such as color, texture or increase or decrease and sweating, and skin temperature changes), nail or hair growth that is faster or slower than normal, osteoporosis, or involuntary movements of the affected region of the initial injury. The rule also specifically addresses the effects of pain and medication on individual with RSD and how a Social Security disability claim for CRPS should be handled. "Chronic pain in many of the medications prescribed you treated may affect an individual's ability to maintain attention and concentration, as well as adversely affect his or her cognition, mood, and behavior, and may even reduce motor reaction times. These factors can interfere with an individual's ability to sustain work activity over time, or preclude sustain work activity altogether. When evaluating duration and severity, as well as when evaluating RFC, the effects of chronic pain in the use of pain medications must be carefully considered."  SSR 03-2p also states "pain is expected symptom of the disorder" as well as "extreme sensitivity to touch or pressure or abnormal sensation of heat or cold, can also be associated with this disorder." If you have an SSD or SSI cases for reflex sympathetic dystrophy it is extremely important that you get a detailed opinion from your treating doctor and it should include an RFC form which shows your limitations in your ability to work. The ruling on RSDS makes very clear the importance of the treating physician in these cases.  "Opinions from individuals medical sources, especially treating sources, concerning the effects of RSDS or CRPS on the individual's ability to function in a sustained manner and performing work activities, or in performing activities of daily living, are important in enabling adjudicators to draw conclusions about the severity of the impairments and the individuals RFC."

For a Free Social Security Disability Case Evaluation

RSD Disability Lawyer

When getting help from a lawyer for your RSD SSDI or SSI case try and find someone who has handled CRPS cases before because it is not your so called run of the mill case.  In fact, unfortunately many people at the Social Security Administration still believe Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is not a real medical condition and is only "in the patients head".  This includes many doctors who should know better.  This often results in the condition not being diagnosed as early as it should or worse the individual suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome may be labeled as a pain medication addict.  A lawyer can make sure you get all your medical documentation and opinion evidence from your doctor.  An attorney can also take all this information and put it together to come up with a theory as to why you are disabled as a result of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and present the proper arguments to the ALJ or other decision makers at SSA.  Lawyers who are familiar with RSD will make sure the people who will ultimately decide your case know all about RSDS and the affects they have on you that keep you from being able to work.  If you would like to speak to an attorney who has represented many clients with CRPS feel free to call me at 1-877-527-5529.

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 by Kazmierczak & Kazmierczak, LLP. All rights reserved.
If you want an RSD disability lawyer to help you with your claim for Social Security Disability benefits for CRPS call us at 1-877-527-5529.