CFS and Social Security Disability Benefits

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can be a disabling condition but obtaining Social Security Disability benefits for this disorder can be an uphill battle. CFS is not included in the official listing of qualifying impairments and initial benefit claims are rarely approved. If you are seeking disability benefits for chronic fatigue syndrome, turn to Disability Attorneys of Arizona.

We are well aware that claims for chronic fatigue syndrome require objective medical evidence that supports your diagnosis, despite the varying signs and symptoms of CFS. When you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim and help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation with an experienced disability attorney. 

Unraveling the Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex illness that does not have a known cause. However, it may be associated with stress, a compromised immune system, inflammation in the nervous system, and/or exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus.

Age and gender may be factors as well: women between 30 and 50 are at increased risk for CFS. 

The disease is marked by persistent tiredness, certain “psychological” symptoms (e.g. depression, anxiety, irritability) as well as cognitive issues such as confusion, forgetfulness, speech and language issues, collectively referred to as “brain fog.” In any event, there is no known cure for the illness, but symptoms can improve with treatment. As you are well aware, CFS can interfere with your work and personal activities. 

Evaluating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Disability Benefits Claims

As mentioned above, CFS is not included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) listing of qualifying impairments (the Blue Book). In addition, disability examiners rarely find that CFS is medically equivalent to a listed condition. You may be awarded benefits based on a “medical vocational allowance” however, which considers factors such as your:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Work history
  • Residual functional capacity (RFC)

Your RFC is an assessment of your physical and mental abilities and whether you can perform full-time work. Also, Social Security Ruling 14-1p explains how CFS claims should be evaluated. 

In short, your condition must be a “medically determinable impairment,” based on the findings of medical exams and lab tests. In particular, SSA’s diagnostic criteria require at least 4 of the following symptoms to persist for 6 consecutive months:

  • Recurring sore throat
  • Atypical headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Deficits in memory or concentration
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Pain in multiple joints without redness or swelling
  • Fatigue unrelieved by rest or sleep
  • Illness after exertion (lasting 24 hours)

Moreover, your doctor is required to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms before making a diagnosis of CFS. If the medical record provided by your doctor does not contain enough evidence to support your claim, you may be required to undergo a consultative examination (CE) with a physician approved by the SSA. 

Given that the majority of initial benefits claims are denied, it will likely become necessary to file a disability appeal and attend a disability hearing. Trust Disability Attorneys of Arizona to stand by you every step of the way and fight tirelessly for the benefits you deserve. 

How Our Firm Can Help With Your CFS Social Security Disability Claim

Our experienced Arizona disability lawyers will work closely with your doctor to compile the necessary medical record, including the doctor’s notes, lab test and MRI results, and hospital records, as well as records of other mental or physical conditions. We will also work closely with your treating doctor or specialist to draft an opinion that specifically addresses your physical and mental limitations, including difficulty:

  • Lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling
  • Standing, sitting, walking
  • Maintaining concentration, adequate attendance, and punctuality
  • Carrying out simple and complex instructions

A supporting opinion from your doctor will go a long way in having your claim approved. It can also help for you to create a daily log of your symptoms which we will submit to the SSA. Finally, statements from family members, neighbors, or former co-workers, can also prove helpful in documenting your chronic fatigue syndrome. 

You can count on our disability lawyers to guide you through all aspects of the claims process, from submitting the initial application to providing the necessary medical evidence, to handling your disability appeal, and representing you during the disability hearing. Above all, we will make your CFS claim our cause and work tirelessly to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.

Contact Our Experienced Arizona CFS Disability Claims Attorney

In spite of the challenges of obtaining disability benefits for chronic fatigue syndrome, working with an attorney significantly increases the likelihood of having your claim approved. Because we understand your physical, emotional, and financial burdens, we will not accept any attorneys’ fees until we win benefits for you. Contact our office today so we can start working on your claim.