SOMATIC DISORDER & DISABILITY BENEFITS
WHAT IS A SOMATIC DISORDER?
A somatic disorder can prevent you from working a full time job. It requires physical symptoms that are not explained by another medical condition. Also, the physical symptoms cannot be explained by another mental condition.
Have you ever had physical pain and gone to the doctor, only to be told that there is no reason for your pain? If you feel physical pain every day and there is no objective reason for your pain, then you may have a somatic disorder. Somatic disorders require treatment from a doctor. Please remember one thing. Doctors are not always right. There are times that a medical reason for your pain only comes to light after time.
In 30 years of legal practice, this writer has met many people who had severe physical symptoms with, according to their doctors, no medical basis. Unfortunately, in most of those cases, the reason for those symptoms had simply not been found. For example, one client ended up having cancer.
Another client, after complaining for 7 years of stomach pain, died of a heart attack. Her doctor never looked at her heart, even though her mother and grandmother both died of heart attacks in their early 50’s. If you have a somatic illness, our legal team can help you win your SSDI and SSI case. We can also help you apply for benefits online at Social Security’s website.
SOMATIC DISORDER SYMPTOMS
Somatic disorders may include a preoccupation with having a serious medical condition, but your doctor can’t find any signs of it on medical testing. Symptoms and signs may include pain and other problems with sensation, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, a high level of anxiety about personal health status.
Also, it can include abnormal motor movement, pseudoseizures, and pseudoneurological symptoms, such as blindness or deafness. Examples of the some of the conditions the SSA includes in this area include somatic symptom disorder, anxiety and conversion disorder.
If you have a somatic illness, you may notice the following issues:
- Feel anxious about your physical symptoms.
- Think that mild physical symptoms are signs of a serious illness.
- Visit your doctor for multiple tests and exams, but not believe the results.
- Believe your doctor doesn’t take your physical symptoms seriously.
- Seeking different treatments from multiple doctors at once.
- Spend large amounts of time and energy dealing with health concerns.
- Being sensitive to drug side effects.
- Demanding emotional support from friends and family.
- Being angry when you feel your emotional needs aren’t met.
Cognitive behavior therapy is effective for the treatment of somatic illness. Your doctor can also give you medications. For example, Amitriptyline and similar medications are also known as good treatments. Ask your doctor about these treatments.
MEDICAL EVIDENCE PROVING A SOMATIC DISORDER
The SSA has a list of medical conditions called the “blue book.” Somatic disorder is found under Listing 12.07. In order to prove you deserve benefits under this listing, you must have medical evidence. The SSA accepts medical evidence from doctors and psychologists.
Also, if you have a mental condition, then the SSA will review records from other medical sources. For instance, they will review evidence from a counselor, social worker, or nurse. Additionally, the SSA can accept evidence form other mental health sources. For example, they can review notes from a social worker that you visit for therapy.
It is crucial that you understand the importance of getting all of your medical records when you apply for SSDI and SSI benefits.
When you first apply for benefits, you should include a copy of your medical records with your application. The burden of proving that you should be paid benefits is one you. This is true even though DDS, the state agency, collects your medical records.
The reason you should submit your own records is that DDS may not collect everything. For example, DDS will probably not collect old records. However, old records may be important to your case. They are important because they confirm the beginning of your illness. They may also show when the doctor found your illness and contain medical testing that proves your condition.
TREATMENT FOR SOMATIC DISORDER
Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) is a condition where a person experiences significant physical symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, that cannot be fully explained by a medical condition. Also, it cannot be explained by alcohol abuse or another mental illness. It is important to note that the symptoms are real to the individual.
Treatment for somatic symptoms usually requires a combination of treatments, including:
- Medical Evaluation: Your doctor will start with a medical exam to rule out any physical conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
- Education: Learning information about somatic symptoms, including the nature of the condition and how mental factors influence physical symptoms.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is often the first treatment for somatic symptoms. CBT helps people identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop a healthy way of thinking about their symptoms.
- Mindful Therapy: Meditation can help you become more aware of your body and learn to manage your symptoms.
- Talk Therapy: This type of therapy looks at conflicts and how they may be showing up as physical symptoms.
- Antidepressant Medications: These may be given to you by the doctor to help manage your mood or anxiety that may be causing some of your symptoms.
- Stress Management:
- Relaxation: Deep breathing and guided imagery can help manage tension and stress.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health.
- Support Groups: Connecting with others who are experiencing similar challenges can provide support.
- Monitoring: Regular visits with your doctor or mental health professional can help track your progress and address any new symptoms.
SSA’S ELEMENTS OF A SOMATIC DISORDER
Below you can find listing 12.07, which contains two parts, Part A and Part B. Part A describes the specific symptoms of somatic disorder. The SSA requires you have at least one of the elements under Part A.
Under Part B, the SSA is looking at how severe your mental symptoms are. To win benefits, you must have a marked limit in two of the elements. For example, you would need a marked limit in your ability to concentrate and deal with other people. Or, you could have one extreme limit in one of the elements.
For example, a marked problem in your ability to concentrate would be not being able to finish a timed task at work. Likewise, an example of a marked problem in dealing with others would be yelling at your boss when they are trying to give you job instructions. Obviously, when you have marked and extreme limits under the Part B rules, you will not be able to work or you will be fired from your job due to your behavior.
SSA LISTING 12.07 – SOMATIC DISORDER
Here is SSA’s listing 12.07 for Somatic Disorder. You need to meet the elements in the listing below to win benefits.
12.07 Somatic symptom and related conditions, satisfied by A and B:
- Medical documents of one or more of the following:
- Symptoms of altered voluntary motor or sensory function that are not better explained by another medical or mental condition;
- One or more somatic symptoms that are distressing, with excessive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to the symptoms; or
- Preoccupation with having a serious illness without significant symptoms present.
All elements of the listing must be shown in your medical records. The medical record must also show that you have a somatic condition that is going to last or that will last longer than 12 months.
WHAT IF YOUR SOMATIC DISORDER DOESN’T MEET A LISTING?
If your somatic condition does not meet listing 12.07, there is still hope of winning benefits. If you do not meet all of the elements of a listing, then you might be able to win benefits by “equaling” the listing. This means that the SSA will examine all of your medical issues, not just your somatic condition.
According to SSR 17-2p, a medical condition is equal to a listing if it is at least equal in severity and duration to the elements of any listing. This means that the SSA could look at the combination of your medical conditions to see if they are equal to listing 12.07.
For example, in addition to a somatic illness, you might suffer from personality issues and anxiety. Perhaps those mental conditions are not severe enough to meet a listing. However, when you combine your somatic condition with the other two mental conditions, then altogether they may be as severe as those in listing 12.07. Therefore, you would “equal” a listing. If you equal listing 12.07, the SSA awards benefits.
MEDICAL EXPERT TESTIMONY AT YOUR HEARING
Typically, in order for a judge at your SSA hearing to find that you equal a listing, there will need to be testimony from a medical expert. The judge will call a medical expert to attend the hearing. The medical expert then reviews your medical records. At the hearing, the judge and your attorney, will ask the medical expert whether your mental conditions equal listing 12.07. Or, they may ask if your mental condition meets or equals any other listing.
Also, your attorney can ask the medical expert about any mental RFC limits that are part of the medical record. If you have a limited RFC, then it will impact your ability to work. It is crucial to have an attorney who understands how to build a picture of your mental RFC.
If your mental condition does not meet or equal SSA’s listing, then you can still win your case by proving you cannot sustain a 40 hour work week. Learn more information about how your RFC can help win your SSD benefits.
OUR LAW FIRM WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE
If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits, you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you file for SSDI and SSI benefits. Studies show that you are three times more likely to win benefits if you hire an attorney.
In order to hire our law firm, all you need to do is call or contact us. We offer a free review of your case over the phone. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.
Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. It means if we win your SSD case, then you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, then there is no attorney fee to pay.
The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the attorney fee cap, whatever is less.
We also offer a free review of your case. Additionally, we will represent you for free, until you win your case. We are only paid if you win benefits. The SSA sends us an attorney fee from your past due benefits. Learn more about past due benefits. If you have prior applications, then perhaps we can reopen your prior applications. Learn about reopening prior applications. However, if we lose your case, then you will not have to pay an attorney fee.
WHAT OUR LAW FIRM DOES FOR YOU
The legal team at our law firm can help you document your somatic disorder. If your somatic symptoms keep you from working and you are seeking medical treatment, then you may receive benefits. You can contact us today. We will answer your questions for free.
You have nothing to lose by calling us. We can often tell you over the phone whether you qualify for benefits. We ask a lot of questions over the phone. By doing that, we are trying to help you. There are many factors that go into a Social Security case. When you answer our questions, we can give you a good understanding about whether or not you will win benefits.
However, we will not share your information with anyone. If we can’t help you, then we will tell you. Best of all, it won’t cost you anything. We know you don’t have a job because of your medical condition. But, that shouldn’t stop you from hiring the best SSD attorney near you.
Therefore, hire us. Our legal team has over 30 years of experience helping Social Security clients. Read more information on our About Us page. We have won over $100 million in past due benefits for our clients.
Put our experience to work for you. Contact Cannon Disability Law today. We will help prove your somatic disorder deserves SSDI and SSI benefits.