Fibromyalgia can be disabling, but the Social Security Administration does not always appreciate the impact of the condition when deciding whether or not to award Social Security Disability benefits.
There is no specific Social Security Disability “listing” for fibromyalgia. However, approximately six months ago, Social Security issued a ruling instructing claims examiners and judges to rely on criteria issued by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to determine whether an applicant has the medically determinable impairment (MDI) of fibromyalgia. The ACR requires the following for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia:
- Evidence of chronic widespread pain, including pain in the back, neck, or chest
- Evidence that shows your doctor ruled out other diseases that could cause the same symptoms (the symptoms of fibromyalgia often overlap with those of lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis), such as lab tests and examination notes, and
- One of the following: (1) Tender points sites in at least 11 of 18 tender point areas of the body, with tender points occurring on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist. A list of the tender points can be viewed in the SSA’s recent ruling on fibromyalgia. In testing tender points, your doctor should apply the approximate amount of pressure needed to blanch his or her own thumbnail. Or (2) Repeated manifestations of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, signs, or conditions that often occur with FM, particularly fatigue, non-restorative sleep, cognitive or memory problems (“fibro fog”), depression, anxiety, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other possible symptoms include headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, Raynaud’s phenomenon, seizures, and dizziness.
Remember though, proving a medically determinable impairment is only one prong of the test of eligibility for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. You must still prove that you cannot do any substantial work and that your condition is severe. Following that, you must establish your residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine if you can return to any past relevant work or other work.
If you or a loved one is suffering from fibromyalgia, don’t give up hope on being accepted for Social Security Disability benefits. With the right documentation, someone with fibromyalgia can receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. However, don’t fight Social Security alone. Get someone on your side who knows what is needed to win your Social Security Disability claim.
Social Security Disability Attorney Matthew Noyes and his staff assist injured individuals with their battle for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. There are no attorneys’ fees unless we are successful in getting you SSD benefits. If you or someone you know are fighting for Social Security Disability benefits, call Attorney Noyes’ office today at 727-724-7853 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.