How to Apply for Disability Benefits with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia (formerly “fibrositis”) is a chronic pain disorder affecting the nervous system. Doctors think fibromyalgia may emerge when a person experiences periods of emotional and/or physical stress or develops an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Abnormalities in the way the nervous system processes pain signals combined with systemic inflammation are thought to cause symptoms of fibromyalgia. Severe fibromyalgia can interfere with the ability for some people to maintain employment or even perform physical tasks around the home, like mowing the lawn or doing laundry.
How Does Social Security Determine If a Fibromyalgia Disability Condition Exists?
The SSA describes “specific criteria” applicants need to meet when filing for fibromyalgia disability benefits. Criteria include:
- History of chronic and widespread pain in all body quadrants that has persisted for at least 90 days.
- Proof of a physical exam showing the applicant suffers from 11 or more positive tender points. These tender points (areas of intense pain) must be affecting both sides of the body as well as the upper and lower body.
According to SSA guidelines, doctors should test for tender points by digitally palpating areas using a force equaling nine pounds of pressure. Tender points are marked as “positive” when the applicant feels pain during this procedure.
Even though applications for SSI or SSDI may fulfill fibromyalgia disability criteria, they are typically denied because of the subjective nature of pain. Since no clinical tests exist to diagnose fibromyalgia, documentation proving an applicant suffers from debilitating fatigue and pain will need to be extensive and detailed. Other medical conditions accompanying fibromyalgia should be listed as well to show how symptoms may be exacerbated by serious health issues detected through blood and imaging tests.
How Can a Disability Attorney Assist With Preparing a Fibromyalgia Disability Claim?
Since people with fibromyalgia often experience memory and cognitive difficulties, hiring a lawyer specializing in submitting and litigating disability claims ensures their claim is sent to the Social Security Administration complete with all the documentation essential for supporting their case. Working closely with the qualified disability attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel Berger significantly increases the probability that a fibromyalgia disability case is approved the first time or approved upon appeal. If you can no longer work due to fibromyalgia, call our office today to schedule a consultation appointment.