Yesterday’s Newsday had an article about a person’s ordeal with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, symptoms include crippling pain, burning sensation, skin color, temperature, and sensitivity changes, sweating and swelling. And according to the International Research Foundation for RSD/CPRS, the incurable condition affects over a million Americans.
Because RSD/CRPS affects so many people, the Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) promulgated a special rule for it. The rule notes that conflicting evidence is not unusual in cases of RSD/CRPS, and that its chronic pain and medications can affect an individual's ability to maintain attention and concentration, which obviously can interfere with one’s ability to work. The rule also discusses how third-party information, including Information from nonmedical sources such as neighbors, friends, relatives, clergy, past employers, rehabilitation counselors, or teachers is important.
When applying for disability benefits it is important to understand the nature of RSD/CRPS in order to present a case that properly explains how it limits the ability to work. When applying for disability benefits from the SSA make sure that your attorney is aware of the special rules that apply for RSD/CRPS.