The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all are subject to evaluation and must meet certain criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Though most of the conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year.

What is RSD/CRPS?

Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS), now referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), affects the central or peripheral nervous system and causes chronic pain that is typically accompanied by swelling, skin changes, and sensitivity, and can often be debilitating. The cause of this syndrome is currently unknown and there is no cure.

As degenerative disc disease affects the musculoskeletal system, it is classified with other conditions that are caused by infectious, inflammatory, or degenerative processes; traumatic or developmental events; or neoplastic, vascular, or toxic/metabolic diseases. There is no cure for CRPS.

According to American RSD Hope, there are four main symptoms of CRPS:

  1. Constant chronic burning pain (e.g., extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and vibration)
  2. Inflammation (i.e., this can affect the appearance of the skin, bruising, mottling, etc.)
  3. Spasms in blood vessels and muscles of the extremities
  4. Insomnia/emotional disturbance (e.g., major changes to the limbic system, such as short-term memory problems, concentration difficulties, etc.)

The International Association for the Study of Pain divides CRPS into two types based on the presence of nerve lesion following an injury.

  • Type I (formerly known as RSD, Sudeck’s atrophy, reflex neurovascular dystrophy, or algoneurodystrophy) does not have demonstrable nerve lesions.
  • Type II (formerly known as causalgia) has evidence of obvious nerve damage.

CRPS and Disability

Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is considered a disabling condition by the SSA and may qualify you for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits dependent on the condition and your age.

A diagnosis of RSDS/CRPS requires the presence of complaints of persistent, severe pain that results in impaired mobility of the affected region. Pain is associated with one or more of the following signs in the affected region:

  • Swelling
  • Autonomic instability—seen as changes in skin color or texture, changes in sweating (decreased or excessive sweating), skin temperature changes, or abnormal pilomotor erection (gooseflesh)
  • Abnormal hair or nail growth (growth can be either too slow or too fast)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Involuntary movements

We Can Help You Navigate the SSA Approval Process

If you have RSDS/CRPS, you know firsthand how difficult it is to live a normal life—let alone hold down a full-time job. And when you’re in too much pain to work, you can quickly fall behind on paying your bills and medical expenses. At Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin, we know how to build strong claims that get results.

The SSA’s approval process means countless claims are denied every year, but we know how the system works. Contact our Social Security Disability lawyers today—just dial (800) 477-7315.

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