Fibromyalgia claims can be one of the most challenging applications for Social Security disability applicants to win. However, Disability Support Services has years of experience handling these claims and can help you through the entire process. Disability examiners and Administrative Law Judges are reluctant to approve these applications because fibromyalgia symptoms are so varied and are generally subjective (i.e. self-reported). Here is some useful information regarding fibromyalgia and disability claims.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Also known as Fibromyositis, Fibrositis, or Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness marked by a widespread pain and tenderness throughout the muscles, joints, tendons, and soft tissue. There is no known cause of the disease, but it does tend to arise from a combination of factors including physical injury, emotional trauma, lifestyle, and genetics.
Some of the physical symptoms include:
- diffuse pain or soreness
- digestive problems
- numbness or tingling in hands or feet
Some of the psychological manifestations include:
- memory issues (referred to as fibro fog)
- cognitive problems
What are the treatments for Fibromyalgia?
Treatment can vary from patient to patient and will usually involve some experimentation to find what works best for each. Common treatments physicians recommend:
- physical therapy
- cognitive behavioral therapy
Frequently Asked Questions about Fibromyalgia and Disability Claims
What are the Social Security’s guidelines regarding Fibromyalgia?
In July 2012, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published a ruling (SSR 12-2p) to explain to medical examiners and judges how to evaluate Fibromyalgia disability claims. For any illness to be qualified, it must be considered a medically determinable impairment or MDI.
Social Security based their guidelines on those from the American College of Rheumatology, and stated that for claimants with Fibromyalgia to qualify for benefits they must have:
- Chronic widespread pain lasting at least three months or more.
- Objective tests, such as laboratory testing, MRI’s, and x-rays that have ruled out all other conditions.
Additionally, claimants must also exhibit one of the following:
- Positive tender points in at least 11 of 18 recommended test areas.
- Repeated occurrence of at least six qualifying symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive issues, waking unrefreshed, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
How do I document my Fibromyalgia disability case?
It is important to be as thorough as possible when presenting your Fibromyalgia case. Here are three suggestions to increase your approval chances.
- Get a proper diagnosis from a rheumatologist.
- Make sure to present the SSA with all relevant medical records.
- Ask your physician to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form.
- Keep a detailed journal of all your symptoms.
- Obtain statements from third parties that are familiar with your symptoms or limitations.
You need to present a case that you have the following constraints:
- sitting, standing and walking during an eight-hour workday
- lifting and carrying any weight
- mobility issues like bending, stooping, balancing, crouching, crawling
- maintaining punctuality or other proper workplace practices
If you are suffering from the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and it is affecting your ability to support yourself and your family, it may be time to file a claim for disability benefits. Please contact Disability Support Services today. We can assist in gathering the necessary information regarding Fibromyalgia for your Disability Claim to help you present the best case to Social Security.