Answer: Yes. A person diagnosed with fibromyalgia can be approved for Social Security disability solely on the basis of fibromyalgia. While fibromyalgia is not a “listed” impairment (SSA’s Listings are impairments that automatically qualify for disability), SSA must evaluate any condition that has lasted, or can be expected to last, twelve continuous months and that results in workplace limitations. SSA must evaluate how the symptoms of fibromyalgia would impact a person’s ability to work.
Inherent in any claim for disability involving fibromyalgia there are evidence issues. SSA has rigorous standards for determining disability. The process places the burden of proof on the applicant to submit “objective” evidence of their disability. This poses a challenge for people with impairments that are not easily established from imaging studies such as MRIs or X-rays. This challenge occurs in claims arising from mental health impairment s as with fibromyalgia. Social Security Regulation 12-2p lays out the criteria for establishing fibromyalgia as a disabling impairment. The first criteria are a history of widespread pain that has lasted at least three months. The pain may fluctuate in intensity. The second criteria are at least 11 out of 18 positive tender points on physical examination. Preferably this examination is conducted by a rheumatologist. This is a crucial physical examination in claims involving fibromyalgia. In lieu of a tender point examination, SSA will consider evidence of repeated manifestations of six or more common fibromyalgia symptoms, including fatigue, cognitive or memory problems, waking unrefreshed, depression, anxiety disorder, or irritable bowel syndrome. If a person is experiencing mental health symptoms due to fibromyalgia, they should consider establishing care with a mental health professional. The final criteria for establishing fibromyalgia in a disability claim is evidence that other disorders that could cause the symptoms were excluded. Prior to a fibromyalgia diagnosis, physicians will typically perform blood and laboratory tests to rule.
It is important to continue to describe fibromyalgia symptoms to the physician in detail, specifying the most painful areas of the body, with examples of how the residual symptoms impact basic activities of daily living.
Even though fibromyalgia is perceived as a challenging condition for the purpose of winning a disability claim, it is still possible to win a case based on fibromyalgia. If your application was denied call the LaPorte Law Firm right away to discuss your appeal rights.