ANPRM on Pain

Empire Justice Center January 28, 2019

SSA issued an “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” (ANPRM) seeking to quantify how its decision makers should take into account the impact that pain has on ability to perform substantial gainful activity. 83 Fed. Reg. 64463 (Dec. 17, 2018).  https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2018-12-17/pdf/2018-27169.pdf.


According to the agency, “We are soliciting public input to ensure that the manner in which we consider pain in adult and child disability claims under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act) remains aligned with contemporary medicine and health care delivery practices.  Specifically, we are requesting public comments and supporting data related to the consideration of pain and documentation of pain in the medical evidence we use in connection with claims for benefits.  We will use the responses to the questions below and any relevant research and data we obtain or receive to determine whether and how we should propose revisions to our current policy regarding the evaluation of pain.”


Comments must be filed by February 15, 2019.


SSA does not seek to divest itself of the first step now existing in pain evaluation – determining whether there is a medically determinable condition that might cause pain.  This ANPRM is targeted only at the second step, determining whether the pain interferes with functioning in the workplace.  Even more specifically, they are “soliciting public comments about our rules for evaluating the intensity and persistence of pain and documentation of pain in the medical evidence.”


SSA has eight questions for directing the comments it seeks.  SSA is obviously seeking scientifically reliable measures for the assessment of pain.