Does Fibromyalgia Qualify for Disability?

The pain, fatigue, memory impairment, and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia make work activities difficult or impossible. As medical researchers continue trying to pinpoint its cause, diagnosis of the disorder in patients is difficult because of the lack of a test to accurately diagnose it.

Instead, doctors must rely upon laboratory analysis of a patient’s blood to rule out other potential causes of a patient’s symptoms. This inability to document a diagnosis of fibromyalgia with laboratory testing or with X-rays and other forms of diagnostic imaging can make it difficult for a patient to qualify for disability and receive financial assistance through the Social Security Administration.

Being approved for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits is not impossible for patients with fibromyalgia. As you read through the information in this article explaining how can fibromyalgia qualify for disability, know that assistance with an application or to appeal a denial of a claim is available through a disability advocate at London Eligibility.

Meeting The Requirements To Qualify For Disability

Each of the disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration has medical and non-medical requirements you need to meet to qualify for benefits. Social Security first reviews your application to ensure that you meet the non-medical requirements. For the SSDI program, you must have a long enough history of working and paying into the Social Security system through your payroll taxes.

If you apply for SSI, it’s a need-based program. Income and resources available to you cannot exceed program limits. For example, the total value of assets you own cannot exceed $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for couples.

Meeting the non-medical guidelines is only the beginning of the application-review process. You also must be disabled according to the definition used by the SSA. You are disabled if there is proof through medical records that you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment making you unable to do substantial gainful activity. The impairment or impairments must be expected to last or have lasted for at least 12 months or be expected to result in death.

The fact that your doctor states that you are disabled and cannot work is not enough. The Disability Determination Services that reviews the medical portion of your claim must be convinced through the medical evidence, including your medical records, that you are disabled.

Fibromyalgia As A Medically Determinable Impairment

Fibromyalgia symptoms include the following:

  • 1). Constant, dull pain throughout the body lasting for at least three months.
  • 2). Fatigue, which may be the result of the pain disrupting a person’s sleep. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have also been associated with fibromyalgia.
  • 3). Impaired cognitive functions, including difficulty concentrating and focusing when performing tasks requiring thinking, and reasoning.

A person with fibromyalgia may have other medical conditions at the same time, including irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, depression, and anxiety. The effect on your ability to do work activities because of other medical conditions in combination with the symptoms of fibromyalgia may help to establish a qualifying disability.

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that it considers severe enough to meet the strict standards used to determine whether applicants for SSI and SSDI are disabled. Fibromyalgia is not one of the conditions listed in the listing of impairments, which some people refer to as the “Blue Book.” You can, however, qualify for disability benefits with fibromyalgia according to guidelines Social Security put into place over the years.

How Does Fibromyalgia Qualify For Disability?

When filing a claim for disability benefits through SSI or SSDI based on fibromyalgia, a disability advocate must establish that you have a history of widespread pain lasting for at least three months. Doctors must have ruled out other medical disorders as the cause of the symptoms that you experience.

In addition, a medical examination by your doctor must disclose a minimum of 11 positive tender points on the right and left sides of your body and above and below your waist. If not, then you must have six or more symptoms typically associated with fibromyalgia or the presence of other medical conditions known to occur with the disorder, including chronic fatigue, sleep disorders, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression.

Documentation of your medical condition and symptoms is essential to achieving approval of a claim for disability based on fibromyalgia. You should start by getting a complete examination and diagnosis from a physician who specializes in treating fibromyalgia.

Keep a record of the symptoms that you experience by writing them down in a journal with the date and a description of how you were affected by them. Your written record can be persuasive evidence to prove the persistence and severity of the symptoms along with the limitations they imposed on your ability to function at home and at work.

Get Help from A Disability Advocate

The disability advocates at London Eligibility have experience helping people suffering from all types of medical conditions, including fibromyalgia, to get the disability benefits they deserve. Contact a disability advocate today for a free consultation and claim review.