The American Association for Disability Policy Reform    

—   rehabilitation first   —

The Evaluation of Pain, Fatigue, etc.


SUMMARY:

From their first days, the disability programs have been plagued by the fact that, except in extreme cases, no reliable method has ever been found for evaluating claims of pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and the other subjective factors which affect a person's ability to work.   In fact, we are probably no closer to having a reliable method for evaluating claims of pain, fatigue, etc. than we were 100 years ago (long before the disability programs began).   With no reliable method, decision-makers are forced to rely on personal bias and to guess.   Within the Social Security Administration there's an awful lot of guessing going on.

DETAILS:

The Social Security Administration tries to lead us to believe that it is able to evaluate subjective claims.   In Title 20 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 404.1529 How we evaluate symptoms, including pain, we find the following:   (The bullets are added.)

The reader is then referred to Section 404.1545.   In Section 404.1545 Your residual functional capacity, we find

Nowhere does the Social Security Administration describe any reliable method for evaluating subjective factors such as pain.   Nowhere does the Social Security Administration describe any reliable method for evaluating a person's ability to sustain work activities.   It can't because no one has ever discovered any way to do those things.   As a result, decision makers are forced to rely on personal bias and to guess.

The Social Security administration never tells us how they evaluate symptoms.   The titles How we evaluate symptoms, including pain and Your residual functional capacity are misleading.   The sections should be entitled How we have no reliable method for evaluating symptoms and How we have no reliable method for determining your residual functional capacity.   Except in extreme cases, with no method for evaluating symptoms, or for evaluating a person's ability to work, decision-makers are forced to rely on personal bias and to guess.   As a result, applicants are forced to play the disability lottery.


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Last updated on 4/3/14.