Long Beach Lawyers Tips:
Applying for Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia –
Because many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia are “subjective” and cannot be measured or tested, Social Security disability claims based on fibromyalgia can be some of the most difficult cases to win. As a result, being approved for Social Security Disability for fibromyalgia is all about submitting the required medical records.
In this article our Long Beach Social Security lawyers offer helpful tips to help get your Fibromyalgia Social Security Case approved.
Remember there are always two steps to any Social Security Disability case:
- proving you have a condition that is a medically determinable impairment (that will last a year or longer), and
- proving the condition makes you unable to work at any job (not just your regular job).
Tips for Applying for Social Security Disability with Fibromyalgia
#1. Get the Right Treatment for Fibromyalgia
To give yourself the best chance of a winning a Social Security Disability claim for fibromyalgia, it’s essential to obtain the right treatment. The Social Security Administration expects people with fibromyalgia to receive a diagnosis and regular treatment from a rheumatologist.
Simply presenting documentation from a general practice doctor, family doctor or internist is almost never enough to prove that you have Fibromyalgia to the Social Security Administration.
Try to get a referral to a specialist such as an orthopedist, a chronic pain or fatigue specialist or preferably a rheumatologist.
#2. Make Sure a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis Is in Your Medical Records
Many family doctors hand out a blanket diagnosis of fibromyalgia when they can’t otherwise diagnose a patient’s complaints – but then do not actually properly test for and/or document the fibromyalgia.
The Social Security Administration has very specific guidelines for accepting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In July 2012 the SSA issued a ruling (SSR 12-2p) on the diagnostic criteria needed. To be considered as having an MDI by Social Security, a Fibromyalgia patient must present evidence of widespread chronic pain that has lasted at least three months, and laboratory testing, MRIs, and x-rays and other objective tests have ruled out other possible conditions.
Typically, this requires that a doctor identify that the patient has tender points in at least 11 of 18 of tested areas, above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. Or, there is a repeated occurrence of at least six fibromyalgia symptoms, especially fatigue, cognitive and memory issues (“fibro fog”), waking unrefreshed, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
Get copies of your medical records before you apply for Social Security Disability, and go over them with an experienced lawyer before you apply. They can help you assess how your medical records looks – and assist you in deciding if maybe you need to switch to a different or more specialized physician.
#3. Don’t Rely Solely on a Diagnoses by a Mental Health Professionals
Unfortunately, if the only medical documentation of fibromyalgia that an applicant has is from a mental health professional, they are more likely to be denied Social Security Disability benefits.
This is because some psychiatrists may overuse the fibromyalgia diagnosis when they can’t find a specific cause for symptoms such as fatigue or pain. If the only fibromyalgia diagnosis an applicant has is from a mental health practitioner is often, unfortunately, dismissed by the SSA disability examiner as being psychosomatic or “all in their head”.
#4. Hire An Experienced Social Security Lawyer
If you are applying for Social Security Disability based on fibromyalgia, your case can be strengthened by understanding how Social Security Disability examiners consider medical evidence.
Because of the high rate of denial for Fibromyalgia Social Security cases – hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your case for fibromyalgia is even more important than in other cases. Our experienced Long Beach social security disability lawyers understand the Social Security ruling on fibromyalgia (SSR 12-2p), as well as how to compile the documentation you need to prove that your Fibromyalgia is a medically determinable impairment and that you are unable to work.
Long Beach Best Social Security Lawyers
We have helped many Fibromyalgia sufferers in California collect the maximum amount of Social Security Disability benefits to which they are entitled. If you suffer from Fibromyalgia, or any other disability, call our Long Beach Social Security Lawyers today, and we can help you understand the Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.