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Social Security Administration seeking public input about pain

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Americans have until Friday, February 15 to give the Social Security Administration input about how pain should be measured when it comes to being eligible for disability benefits.

The agency wants feedback that will help to determine if it should change its policy about pain evaluation.

Here's how it currently works. The Social Security Administration gathers information and reviews it to see if the claimant has a medical condition responsible for pain and any physical impairments. If there is enough evidence to prove pain, further evaluation is done to measure how frequent and how intense the pain is.

However, since the feeling of pain is subjective, it can be difficult for claimants and their doctors to prove pain to qualify for benefits. There aren't any tests that can give a definite diagnosis.

The agency is seeking answers to questions that address things such as: suggestions on how pain should be evaluated; whether chronic and acute pain should be evaluated differently; and what information is available on the effectiveness or side effects of methods of treating pain.

Applying for Social Security disability is a tedious task that requires paperwork and doctor visits, and then a wait while your case is evaluated. It can be a long wait, too. And if you aren't approved, you are eligible for reconsideration and then a hearing to fight the decision, if necessary, but that takes even more time. Any changes that could make the process easier for Indiana residents, and all Americans, to be approved for Social Security disability would be welcomed.

People interested in taking part in the study should visit the Federal eRulemaking portal. Find the search function to locate docket SSA-2018-0017.

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