Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Considered a Disability?

Is CRPS Considered a Disability? - Law Office of Gerald D. Brody & Associates

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a serious health condition involving ongoing pain in one or more limbs. It is believed to be linked to a malfunction of the nervous system, causing chronic pain that resists treatment.

Pain typically develops after a traumatic event, such as:

  • Major injury

  • Surgery

  • Stroke

  • Heart attack

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is generally confined to one limb – an arm, leg, hand or foot. In severe cases, it can be present in multiple limbs, generally on the same side. Pain is ongoing, but may temporarily subside or “flare up” with no obvious causes.

CRPS as a Recognized Disability: The Effect of CRPS on Ability to Work

The pain caused by CRPS can be excruciating. There are few effective options a patient can pursue to consistently reduce or stop the pain. As a result, some sufferers of CRPS find it hard to continue their normal professional activities or even engage in the necessities of daily life.

Whenever chronic pain is present and interferes with certain basic functions, CRPS can be recognized as a disability. In order to be diagnosed as a disability, it must interfere with the ability to work.

The Social Security Administration can decide a condition meets its eligibility criteria as a disability if it makes the work a sufferer did before impossible – and it is not possible, in the view of Social Security, for the person to adapt to different work as a result of the condition.

Social Security lists a number of disorders that can qualify as disabilities when they are severe enough. In addition to interfering with work, these disabilities generally also impair some basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as walking, dressing, eating and so on.

In official Social Security documentation, CRPS may be referred to as RSD.

Workers Comp Settlements for CRPS: Disability as a Result of Workplace Injury

It can take weeks or even months for CRPS to develop after the event that causes it. It is not unusual for CRPS to develop after a workplace accident, but extra steps may be necessary to connect the diagnosis with the precipitating event.

No matter where and when a qualifying disability is acquired (unless it is self-inflicted) it may entitle the sufferer to benefits. This is also true of workplace accidents or injuries.

Gerald Brody & Associates can help with CRPS Workers' Comepnsation Claims

If you’re seeking a CRPS settlement, it’s important to work with experts who understand the law. Depending on the expected length and severity of disability, it might be necessary to go beyond workers’ compensation and seek benefits from Social Security.

For a consultation to get you started on your CRPS case, contact Gerald Brody & Associates by calling (619) 528-9800.