When a person’s disability makes it impossible for them to work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is there to administer benefits for the lost wages. Some disabilities, like fibromyalgia, may be more hidden than others, but they still carry several challenges that can interfere with one’s ability to work to make a living.
Fortunately, you can get disability for fibromyalgia. However, since researchers do not fully fibromyalgia or how to quantify the severity of this disease, it can be particularly challenging to meet the SSA’s requirements to receive benefits for this disability. If you are needing social security disability benefits for fibromyalgia, having an experienced attorney there to fight for you can go a long way.
A social security disability insurance attorney can help you complete complicated paperwork, gather evidence of your condition, and file an appeal in case your application is denied. In this article, we are going to discuss what fibromyalgia is and how the SSA handles assigning SSDI benefits
In This Article:
- What is Fibromyalgia?
- How Fibromyalgia Can Make Working Impossible
- Difficulty Receiving Benefits for Fibromyalgia
- What Do You Need to File For Long-Term Disability Benefits For Fibromyalgia
- An Attorney Can Help You Receive Disability For Fibromyalgia
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. While scientists do not fully understand what causes the disorder, it is known that women tend to get it more than men and that it occurs in people of any race or ethnicity. Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia but various types of treatment continue to be developed to help reduce the symptoms.
Some conditions can increase the likelihood of developing fibromyalgia such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, depression or anxiety, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
How Fibromyalgia is Diagnosed for SSDI
Previously, doctors would determine if someone had fibromyalgia by conducting a test of the tender-point sites located near a joint. In this test, the physician would apply pressure or a digital palpitation to each tender point on the patient’s body. If the patient experienced pain this was considered a positive result. A person had to have experienced pain in 11 out of the 18 tender points to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
As of 2010, fibromyalgia can also be diagnosed using two evaluative tools: the symptom severity scale (SS) and the widespread pain index (WPI). The WPI and SS are questionnaires in which a person self-reports the location and severity of their pain. For your healthcare provider to diagnose you with fibromyalgia, the following must be true:
- Either a WPI of 3 to 6 with an SS of 9 or more OR A WPI of 7 or more with an SS of 5 or more.
- Symptoms persist for more than three months.
- There is no other explanation for the symptoms.
How Fibromyalgia Can Make Working Impossible
Again, fibromyalgia may not be a visible disability at times but the impact it can have on a person’s ability to work can be quite significant. Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- chronic widespread pain throughout the body in the arms, legs, head, abdomen, chest, or back.
- chronic fatigue
- stiff muscles and joints
- numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
- difficulties with memory, cognition, or concentration (also known as fibro fog)
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
You must receive a diagnosis to even qualify for SSDI. But even with a diagnosis, you must prove that your symptoms are severe enough to make working impossible in order to receive benefits for fibromyalgia.
Difficulty Receiving Benefits for Fibromyalgia
The SSA does not make it easy to claim benefits for fibromyalgia. A person must show they have a medically determinable impairment (MDI) and the requirements and criteria for showing an MDI and claiming disability for fibromyalgia are extensive. In addition to a diagnosis, they include:
- Repeated manifestations of six or more ongoing signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Documented evidence that rules out other conditions.
- Statements from nonmedical sources such as neighbors, friends, past employers, clergy, or teachers.
- Self-reported statements about any restrictions on, or inabilities to perform, your daily activities.
- 5-step process in determining whether fibromyalgia prevents you from working.
- Evaluation of requested evidence for the 12-month period before the date of the application (with exceptions)
However, this list is not the full extensive list of requirements the SSA uses to determine eligibility for disability for this disorder. Just one minor mistake on an application can disqualify someone for SSDI. This is where an attorney can help lighten the load. A skilled long-term disability attorney would have expert knowledge and understanding of these requirements and can help ensure you have everything you need to receive the benefits you deserve.
What Do You Need to File For Long-Term Disability Benefits For Fibromyalgia
Documentation of your condition will be vital to obtaining long-term disability benefits from SSDI. No detail will be too small or insignificant to your application so it is important that you have clear evidence of your medical records. You will need:
- specific dates of any and all medical visits (including case workers)
- a confirmed diagnosis from a rheumatologist
- most current medical records including lab results, psychologist visits, and medications
- a summary of your previous jobs
- a completed Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment from your doctor.
Even if you are unsure how to obtain this information, an attorney will be able to help track down this information on your behalf.
It’s also important to note that before qualifying for disability for fibromyalgia, you must meet the basic requirements for receiving SSDI, meaning you
- have worked in jobs covered by Social Security
- you generally need 40 credits total, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years (requirements differ for younger workers). As of 2023, you earn 1 credit for each $1,640 you make in wages for up to 4 credits each year.
An Attorney Can Help You Receive Disability For Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is not an easy condition to live with and the process of applying for SSDI can be stressful, exacerbating one’s symptoms. No one should have to go through this challenging process alone. At Disparti Law Group Accident & Injury Lawyers, we fight to win fair compensation for injured and disabled workers. No one should feel left behind or forgotten.
With our expertise, we can help take you across the finish line so you have the financial support you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a FREE consultation and start receiving disability for fibromyalgia. Call (312) 600-6000.