f you are seeking disability benefits for fibromyalgia (FM), turn to Disability Attorneys of Arizona. Because FM is not included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) listing of qualified impairments, disability claims for fibromyalgia are frequently denied. In 2012, however, the SSA published a ruling which provided guidance on how disability examiners and administrative law judges should assess fibromyalgia claims.
While this ruling has allowed more individuals suffering with fibromyalgia to obtain disability benefits, the SSA’s guidance includes strict eligibility requirements that continue to make the process an uphill battle. By working with our esteemed disability lawyers, however, you increase the likelihood of receiving these vital public benefits.
Well-versed in the SSA’s listing of medical impairments and the agency’s guidance on FM claims, we are highly experienced in all aspects of disability claims. Founding attorney Kiel Roeschke has a well-deserved reputation as a dedicated advocate of the disabled, and our legal team is highly regarded for providing our clients with informed representation and caring, efficient service.
When you consult with Disability Attorneys of Arizona, you can trust us to fight for the disability benefits you deserve. If you are struggling with fibromyalgia, don’t delay. Please contact your office today so we can get started on your disability claim.
What is Fibromyalgia?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic illness characterized by diffuse pain and soreness in the muscle, joints, tendons, and soft tissues. FM has no known cause, however, it may involve a combination of factors, including genetics, infection, physical injury, and emotional trauma.
The physical symptoms of FM include:
- Widespread pain
- Sleep disorders
- Digestive problems
- Tension/migraine headache
- Numbness/tingling in hands and feet
There are also cognitive difficulties associated with fibromyalgia, such as impaired memory and an inability to focus (“fibro fog”), as well as psychological complications, including depression and anxiety. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia at this time, the condition can be treated through a combination of pain medication, physical therapy, exercise and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
It is important to note that the SSA guidelines require claimants with FM to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. That’s where Disability Attorneys of Arizona comes in.
Our legal team will document your fibromyalgia with extensive medical records, lab tests, doctor’s opinions, as well as third-party statements from family members, friends and former colleagues. We will handle all the details of your disability claim and help you navigate the federal bureaucracy. When you work with our experienced disability lawyers, your fibromyalgia claim will be handled with professionalism and personal attention. Above all, we will fight for the disability benefits you need and deserve.
Social Security’s Fibromyalgia Ruling
Social Security’s ruling (SSR12-2p) explains under what conditions disability examiners should consider fibromyalgia a “medically determinable impairment (MDI). In short, for fibromyalgia to be considered an MDI by examiners and judges, the following criteria established by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) must be met:
- Evidence of chronic widespread pain, including pain in the back, neck, or chest that has lasted at least 3 months
- Other conditions, such as lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis, have been ruled out by objective tests (lab tests. MRIs, X-rays)
In addition, FM claimants must have one of the following:
- Tender points in at least 11 of 18 tested areas of the body, above and below the waist and on both sides of the body
- Repeated occurrences of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly fatigue, cognitive, or memory issues (“fibro fog”), non-restorative sleep, depression, anxiety, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
While these criteria establish that a claimant’s fibromyalgia is an MDI, Social Security will also consider his or her “residual functional capacity (RFC). This is an assessment of the claimant’s ability to perform his or her past work or another type of work. In making this determination, the SSA will look to the claimant’s medical record and additional evidence provided with the disability claim.
What Happens If My Fibromyalgia Disability Claim is Denied?
Obtaining disability benefits for fibromyalgia is not guaranteed. In fact, nearly two-thirds of all initial disability claims are denied, because the claimant did not meet either the technical and/or medical eligibility criteria. If your FM claim is denied, you have a right to file a disability appeal, however there are strict deadlines and you will likely be required to attend a disability hearing.
Given the exacting procedural rules governing disability appeals, it is critically important to have the powerful representation Disability Attorneys of Arizona provides. We have a proven history of achieving successful outcomes in disability appeals and we will guide you through the process.
Contact Our Experienced Fibromyalgia Disability Lawyers
If you are suffering with fibromyalgia, you are probably frustrated that your medical condition is so misunderstood and concerned about your future medical and financial needs. That’s the time to call Disability Attorneys of Arizona. We offer free consultations, and you will not pay any attorneys’ fees until we win benefits for you. Please contact our office today to speak with one of our disability lawyers.