Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Written by Molly Clark for the RSDSA blog

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, is a relatively uncommon condition that causes severe pain and other symptoms, usually after an injury. CRPS can last for a long time and make it impossible for someone to work. Anyone that expects to be out of work for at least 12 months can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits, including those suffering from CRPS. The money from disability benefits can help with living expenses while a person is unable to work.


Disability Benefits and CRPS

There are a lot of conditions that qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Those conditions can all be found in the SSA’s Blue Book along with the requirements that must be met in order to be approved for disability benefits. But that collection of conditions isn’t comprehensive. Sometimes people have conditions like CRPS that make it impossible to work but there is no Blue Book listing for their condition or they don’t meet the requirements for their condition that are listed in the Blue Book. When you can’t work because of a medical illness but that illness isn’t in the Blue book or you don’t meet the requirements, what options are there? The best option is to have a Residual Functional Capacity Evaluation done.



When you submit your claim for Social Security disability benefits you can ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. This evaluation is done by the Social Security Administration to see if you are capable of doing any type of full time work. They will look at the skills that you have as well as your physical condition and the problems that you have related to treatment or the symptoms of your condition. You will need to submit medical paperwork to help them understand your limitations. If the SSA finds that there is no full-time work that you can reasonably be expected to do, then your claim for benefits can be approved even though there is no listing for CRPS in the Blue Book.

The key factor in the RFC is that the SSA must find that there is no work that you can reasonably be expected to do. If you were working in a job that required you to be on the phone frequently before you got sick but now you have CRPS and chronic excruciating pain in your arm you cannot be expected to be on the phone for 6-8 hours per day. That’s not reasonable, so your claim for benefits would be approved.


Filing A Claim for Disability Benefits

You will still need to file a claim for Social Security disability benefits if you want to receive benefits even though your condition isn’t listed in the Blue Book. When you file your claim paperwork, make sure that you check the box indicating you want a Residual Functional Capacity exam. You can apply online or you can apply in person at your local SSA office. If you are going to ask for an RFC, you should apply in person so that a staff member can help make sure you indicate that you want to have an RFC evaluation done.

Resources Found Via:

This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at or by emailing them at [email protected].

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