Can You Get Disability Benefits for Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a painful condition suffered by nearly 4 million adults in the United States. Its cause is still unknown but its impact on the lives of those living with the illness is profound. They suffer real pain throughout their body. Patients with fibromyalgia often report intense fatigue and an inability to be refreshed, even after long hours of sleep. Other symptoms include headaches and difficulty concentrating. The long-term, painful experience of fibromyalgia sufferers leaves many with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Can you get Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) benefits because of your fibromyalgia?
The answer is yes, but it requires preparing a thorough, exceptionally well-documented treatment history and the help of an experienced disability lawyer to advocate for your claim. At London Disability Advocates, Attorney Scott London and his entire staff of professional Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) advocates fight for the benefit rights of disabled people just like you. If you have questions or need help getting the disability benefits you deserve, contact our office today for all your answers about your case.
The chief complicating factor in disability claims based on fibromyalgia is that the condition is not objectively provable. By this we mean there are no lab or blood test results, MRI or CT scans, x-rays, or other similar medical procedures that confirm the presence of fibromyalgia. Instead, the diagnosis is established largely by eliminating other possible sources of the reported symptoms.
What Qualifies as a Benefits Under Social Security Disability Rules?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability in specific terms to ensure that the same standard is applied universally to all claims and applications for SSD and SSI benefits. In the SSA rules and regulations, a disability is “a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that last, or are expected to last, at least 12 months (or result in death), and prevent the person from performing the substantial gainful activity.”
The SSA’s definition of a qualifying disability includes these components:
- Medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s),
- Did or will last 12 months (or result in death),
- Prevents a person from “substantial gainful activities” (earning a specific minimum income),
- The 2022 monthly income eligibility ceiling is $1,350 (or $2,260 if blind).
Mild or Severe Fibromyalgia as Disability
Medical research has not yet discovered the cause of fibromyalgia or why it inflicts more pain in some individuals’ cases than others. The symptoms of some fibromyalgia sufferers respond to prescription medication and other management techniques such as aerobic exercise, but others fail to find relief and live with nagging discomfort. Many can still work regularly and earn too much income to qualify for SSD benefits.
It is the patients who are unable to function in the workplace or escape their fibromyalgia symptoms who desperately need to receive disability benefits. And as with any impairment recognized by Social Security Disability, it is the severity of the condition and its impact on the claimant’s ability to work that will determine whether they can meet the SSA’s disability standards.
How Fibromyalgia Qualifies for Social Security Disability Benefits
Experienced SSD lawyers and professional advocates win SSD benefit claims based on fibromyalgia by presenting a comprehensive, persuasive benefit application package including extensive documentary evidence supporting the existence of a genuine disability. To achieve this, the claimant’s case needs these components:
- a clear record of persistently seeking treatment over a long period of time,
- long-term consistent symptoms reported regularly to competent specialists,
- compliance with a recommended treatment
- records eliminating other nonqualifying diagnoses,
- ability to report substantial interference with normal daily functioning
- record of failed work attempts
No single one of the case features listed above is a magic ticket to the approval of a claim for disability benefits. The strength of a successful fibromyalgia SSD claim is in the breadth and longevity of the evidence record.
Fibromyalgia Claims Strengthened by Co-occurring Severe Symptoms
Because fibromyalgia presents with a complex of symptoms ranging from pain and weakness to severe depression and anxiety, it is important to remember that Social Security Disability claims may be based on multiple, coexisting impairments that combine to render an applicant disabled. It is the total experience and overall condition of the SSD claimant that is weighed by the SSD claim examiners.
While widespread pain, numbness, weakness, and migraines may be treated by a rheumatologist, the diagnosis of severe depression and anxiety may be the most compelling aspect of your SSD claim.
Get All Your Fibromyalgia Questions About Social Security Disability Benefits Today
At London Disability Advocates for Social Security Disability, Attorney Scott London leads a team of professionals devoted to using all their experience and skill to get you the disability benefits you deserve. You can learn about your eligibility for SSD benefits and enjoy a full case review at no cost by contacting London Disability Advocates today.