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Fibromyalgia: Applying for Social Security Disability

By Kenton Koszdin on June 27, 2018 | In Social Security Disability

Fibromyalgia: Applying for Social Security Disability

Qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) when you have fibromyalgia is not a straightforward process.

Fibromyalgia affects more than 5 million people in the U.S. and most of them are women. This musculoskeletal disorder causes fatigue with pervasive joint and muscle pain. Many fibromyalgia sufferers experience “fibro fog” that can cause memory lapses, difficulty with concentration, anxiety, and depression.

These symptoms, along with chronic pain, make it difficult to work, exercise and even sleep. There is no cure for fibromyalgia and no single treatment that successfully deals with all symptoms.

Applying for Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia Can Be Complicated

Before 2012, being granted SSDI benefits for those with fibromyalgia required the presence of another disease such as arthritis. Applicants with fibromyalgia were usually denied SSDI because of the wide variety of symptoms and also because there is no definitive cause.

The Social Security Administration recognized the issues for those applying for SSDI with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and in 2012 issued a special ruling to clarify eligibility. This ruling is very specific and uses standards developed by the American College of Rheumatology. These guidelines are helpful to claims examiners and administrative law judges when faced with an SSDI claim for fibromyalgia.

According to the 2012 ruling, the following criteria are used to determine whether fibromyalgia is present:

  • A history of chronic widespread pain including in the chest, neck or back, and
  • Evidence such as examination notes and lab tests that shows that your doctor ruled out other diseases that have similar symptoms (for example, lupus, hypothyroidism and multiple sclerosis), and
  • One of the following:
    • Tenderness when palpated by the doctor in at least 11 of 18 specified tender point areas of the body, or
    • Repeated occurrences of 6 or more symptoms typically associated with fibromyalgia; some of these are memory or cognitive problems, anxiety, fatigue, depression, “fibro fog” or muscle weakness.

How To Improve Your Chances of SSDI Application Approval

With a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, confirmation of your condition from an orthopedist or rheumatologist will enhance your SSDI application. You can review your case information by getting copies of medical records from your doctors. Verify that doctor notes and test results support your diagnosis.

Establishing SSDI eligibility with a fibromyalgia can be challenging. Let our experienced firm help you or a family member get the benefits you deserve.

We Can Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim

If you or a loved one has been denied Worker’s Compensation or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, contact The Kenton Koszdin Law Office. Our attorney Kenton Koszdin is experienced in these types of cases. Call 800.438.7734 for your initial free consultation, either in our office or in the comfort of your own home. Our Social Security attorney serves the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valleyand can help you navigate the application process for the best possible outcome for you and your family.

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