Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Also known as complex regional pain syndrome, reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a condition that causes swelling, significant pain and other unwanted changes to the skin. In most cases, RSD begins as a result of trauma or injury to a single leg or arm before spreading to other areas of the body. Almost all sufferers experience spreading of pain and other symptoms to at least one other area of their body, while 35% of people with reflex sympathetic dystrophy experience it spreading throughout their entire body.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this condition is that researchers have not been able to pinpoint exactly what causes RSD. While a range of issues including shingles, heart disease, drugs for tuberculosis and surgery have been linked to reflex sympathetic dystrophy, the exact way this disease develops is still unknown.
Because so many parts of this condition are still unknown, treating RSD can be very challenging. It’s common for a treatment plan to include a variety of components, including neuromodulation, psychologic treatments, physical therapy and prescription medication. While treatment can be successful if it’s launched during the early stages of reflex sympathetic dystrophy, it’s generally not as effective if the condition has already progressed.
Does the SSA Award Disability Benefits for RSD?
Currently, the Social Security Administration does not have a Listing for the diagnosis of RSD. That being said, it is still possible to build a successful disability claim around this condition. When it comes to securing RSD disability benefits, the most important element of building a strong case is demonstrating that this condition makes it impossible to maintain gainful employment.
The creation of a residential functional capacity assessment is the primary method the SSA uses to evaluate reflex sympathetic dystrophy disability claims. Using the medical and other evidence submitted by RSD disability claimants, the Social Security Administration creates a RFC assessment to determine the extent to which this condition affects an individual’s ability to work and do other daily activities.
Have You Been Denied Disability for RSD?
The symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD, can be quite frightening, leading to significant bone and muscle pain, skin thinning or discoloration, muscle spasms, skin sensitivity, perspiration and swollen or stiff joints. In some cases, the condition can even lead to loss of mobility. Despite these significant symptoms, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not automatically recognize RSD as a disabling health condition. To prove your eligibility, you need to show how greatly the condition affects your everyday life and ability to work.
Even if you do your best to prove the ways RSD impacts your ability to do your job, you may find you have been denied for disability benefits. If this is the case, you may want to consult with a disability attorney.
A disability attorney understands how to document the ways your condition affects your daily life and your work life. An attorney can also represent you when you appeal and when you apply, giving you the strongest possibility for securing the benefits you may be entitled to. If you’d like to speak with an attorney who focuses on disability benefits, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation.
If you have been denied disability and have a legitimate case, you have the right to appeal, and you should appeal. You may still be able to secure benefits to help pay for your lost wages and other expenses while you are unable to work.
Proving RSD Disability Eligibility
Some patients with RSD are able to manage their chronic symptoms so they can work. Others, however, cannot return to daily activities regularly, even with treatment. If your condition affects your ability to do your job or to perform daily activities, you may qualify for disability. To prove your eligibility, the SSA may prepare a residual functional capacity assessment (RFC) to help determine the extent to which your RSD affects mobility and your life.
The RFC will be based partly upon medical evidence, so you will want to consult with a medical doctor — ideally someone who specializes in RSD — who can document your condition, diagnosis, medical treatment and how your condition affects your life. Ideally, the doctor can outline specific ways the condition affects you. It is best if the doctor can compare the activity you were able to do before your condition and the activities you can no longer do based on your RSD diagnosis. The more detail provided, the better.
In addition to the RFC, you must be able to provide medical evidence to prove you have a diagnosis of RSD. This may include a doctor’s detailed diagnosis and prognosis of your condition, imaging tests, treatment plans and other medical evidence to prove you have RSD. You must be able to provide impartial proof you have the condition and not just generalized pain.
Undergoing an RFC evaluatoin and trying to prove your pain is caused by RSD can be a challenge. The RFC evaluation process alone may mean individuals from the SSA may contact your friends and family to gain more information about your condition. In addition, you may have to undergo extensive medical treatment or testing to prove your medical situation. If you need help proving your condition or if you have been denied disability benefits for RSD, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a free consultation to review your situation.
Should You Hire a RSD Disability Lawyer?
Choosing whether or not to enlist the services of a RSD social security attorney is a decision that you will ultimately have to make on your own. However, the reason that many people recommend hiring an attorney is because statistics show that disability claims handled by an attorney are more likely to be approved than those filed by individuals who represent themselves. Studies have shown success rate increases of 15% to 30%.
If you want to discuss a RSD Social Security claim with an attorney, call Lisa M. Ritacco at 877-459-4799 or contact our offices online to schedule a free consultation at a time that’s convenient for you. And if you ultimately decide to work with Lisa Ritacco, you won’t have to pay any fees unless your claim is approved.
For more information on RSD visit the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association.