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Could the SSA be changing its criteria for assessing pain?

Applying for disability benefits through Social Security can be a complicated, stressful process. It can be even more complicated for people with conditions that are not immediately identifiable as disabling.

Chronic pain sufferers often fit into this category, as chronic pain is subjective and all but impossible to measure. Therefore, many people with chronic pain have a difficult time securing disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration is examining solutions that could make this process easier.

Seeking feedback, relevant data

The SSA is reportedly asking members of the public to submit comments, feedback, data and research regarding chronic pain.

The agency is looking for more information on chronic pain. It is examining how pain affects people's lives, how the medical community measures pain and whether they should evaluate chronic pain differently than acute or neuropathic pain. The SSA is also asking for more information on the various methods of treating pain and how those methods affect the lives of pain sufferers.

What this means today

The fact that the SSA is soliciting more information on chronic pain is certainly promising. It indicates that the way it currently examines chronic pain cases may not be as effective as it could be.

However, whether it makes any changes to its current system remains to be seen. This leaves chronic pain sufferers still struggling to pursue benefits for their condition. As one woman says, it's easier for people with visible disabilities to receive benefits than it is for someone who sufferers from disabling pain, which cannot be seen.

And often, pain sufferers don't have X-rays, test results and hard data to show where their pain is, how severe the pain is and how it affects their lives. This can make it very challenging to complete an application for Social Security disability benefits.

Because of this, it can be crucial for people with chronic pain to have experienced guidance when it comes to completing an application for disability benefits.

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