Can I Get Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia? (Part 2)
Many people suffering with Fibromyalgia file for Social Security benefits -but very few cases are actually approved to receive benefits. There are a number of reasons for this high rate of denial.
First, the Social Security Administration uses an official “Listing of Impairments Manual” that lists illnesses that qualify for disability. And, unfortunately, Fibromyalgia is still NOT listed in this manual. So you are “in for a fight” with a fibromyalgia Social security Claim.
Secondly, the symptoms and the causes of Fibromyalgia are not completely understood yet by the medical community. And there is not a “blood test” or “xray” or other definitive “test” for Fibromyalgia. So proving you have Fibromyalgia can be an uphill battle – even though YOU know it is very real.
Recent Rulings Help Social Security Disability for Fibromyalgia
The good news is that Social Security has recently published an official ruling that helps define when applicants with fibromyalgia should be granted disability benefits. If you have an experienced lawyer – who is familiar with this new ruling – you have a much better chance of getting Social Security benefits for fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia & “Medically Determinable Impairment” (MDI)
To be approved for disability benefits, you must have a Medically Determinable Impairment”. This means that you will not be granted Social Security Disability only based on your reports of your symptoms. The SSA must see medical signs of an impairment that could reasonably be expected to produce your symptoms. Proving this can be difficult – because fibromyalgia is usually characterized by subjective reports of widespread pain, tenderness in the muscles, joints, and soft tissues, fatigue, dizziness, and that awful so-called “fibro fog.”
Fortunately, Social Security issued a ruling explaining when fibromyalgia should be found as a “medically determinable impairment”. This ruling directs claims examiners and judges to adopt the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to determine whether an applicant has fibromyalgia.
This ruling is already reducing the number of fibromyalgia claimants who are denied at the initial application stage and go on to file an appeal and eventually win disability benefits.
Our Social Security Disability Lawyers have compiled a “list” of what the SSA is looking for to determine if a case of fibromyalgia is a MDI.
Approval Criteria for Social Security for Fibromyalgia
(1.) The patient should have evidence of chronic widespread pain. This includes pain in the back, neck, or chest;
(2.) A doctor must have ruled out other diseases (such lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis) through the use of lab tests or x-rays.
(3.) The patient must have at least one of the following:
(a.) Tender points in at least 11 of 18 tender point areas of the body, with tender points occurring on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist.
(b.) Repeated occurrences of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, particularly:
- cognitive or memory problems (“fibro fog”),
- non-restorative sleep,
- depression or anxiety,
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),
- muscle weakness,
- abdominal pain,
- Raynaud’s phenomenon,
Social Security Disability Lawyers Can Help
Because of the high rate of denial for Fibromyalgia Social Security cases – hiring a lawyer to handle your case for fibromyalgia is even more important than in other cases. Our experienced social security disability lawyers are well versed in the new the Social Security ruling on fibromyalgia (SSR 12-2p), as well as the latest court decisions on when disability should be granted for fibromyalgia.
CLICK HERE for Part 1 of Social Security for Fibromyalgia
We have helped many Fibromyalgia sufferers in California collect the maximum amount of Social Security Disability benefits to which they are entitled. Call us today and we can help you understand the Social Security Disability benefits for which you qualify.