Fibromyalgia has been a medical mystery in many ways. It is general characterized as a condition that can involve both widespread musculoskeletal pain as well as extreme fatigue and memory and mood issues. It can also impact sleep. The causes of fibromyalgia are not fully understood and medical researchers continue to research the root cause of this sometimes debilitating condition. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you may have been prevented from retaining gainful employment due to your condition. If this is the case, you are likely very curious as to whether or not fibromyalgia is a qualifying condition to access disability benefits.
Is Fibromyalgia a Qualifying Condition for Disability?
The Social Security Blue Book does not have a listing for fibromyalgia among its list of other conditions that may qualify a person for disability benefits. The causes of fibromyalgia are not fully understood and the symptoms are mostly subjective, or self-reported. Furthermore, the symptoms of fibromyalgia can greatly vary from one person to the next. These are all reasons why fibromyalgia claims are often denied by the SSA. This, however, is not always the case. Fibromyalgia can be a qualifying condition for disability benefits. If your claim is initially denied, you may see more success at the administrative law judge appeals level.
Due to the struggles associated with fibromyalgia cases, SSA has published a ruling about when the condition should be deemed a “medically determinable impairment.” This is the first threshold that needs to be crossed when applying for disability benefits. A medically determinable impairment means that your disabling condition needs to be established by more than your own reports about your symptoms. There must be medical signs of an impairment that could be reasonably expected to produce the symptoms you are reporting.
To strengthen the validity of your claim, you will need to have relevant medical records including laboratory test results and doctors’ evaluations. You may also want to submit statements from friends, family, and co-workers about your condition and its impacts on you, your job, and your relationships. Some of the more specific information that the SSA will be looking for in determining the validity of your disability claim will include:
- Records supporting joint, muscle and surrounding tissue pain that is both severe and has continued for a minimum of three months
- Documentation that excludes other medical causes and conditions of your symptoms
- Supporting statements about restrictions on your ability to perform daily activities
- Documentation that you exhibit six or more symptoms of fibromyalgia that may include things like fatigue, depression, anxiety, and memory problems
As you can see, supporting documentation is critical to the success of your disability claim. Your application for disability benefits should include a confirmed fibromyalgia diagnosis from a rheumatologist as well as the dates of your medical visits and the contact information for all of your medical providers. You should also submit a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment regarding your impairments that is completed by your doctor.
Fibromyalgia can have far-reaching impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing. The symptoms of the condition may be severe enough to make it disabling. A person suffering from fibromyalgia may not be able to work and, in that case, disability benefits may be critical to providing much needed financial support. For assistance with your fibromyalgia disability claim, Roeschke Law is here for you. Contact us today.