Proving Disability for Clients with Fybromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that is challenging for any attorney to prove under the strict standards of Social Security Disability rules. Under a new Social Security ruling, fibromyalgia symptoms are evaluated similarly to a chronic pain condition and can be a Medically Determinable Impairment (MDI) under the criteria set forth in SSR 12-2p with evaluation of symptoms including diffuse pain, fatigue, depression and difficulty with memory. The doctors that Social Security may send an applicant to for evaluation may not be specialists and the limited, one-time examination will likely not be supportive of an applicant’s claim.

We recently won our case on behalf of a younger female client with documented fibromyalgia at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In our case, our client had a lengthy and well-documented history of an extremely debilitating chronic pain syndrome with objective medical evidence and credible treating physician opinions that supported her claim that she could not perform any work. Opinions from a long-time treating specialist, in this case, a Rheumatologist, were very helpful in helping us to win benefits on behalf of our client. Without this type of medical evidence, a claimant will have a very difficult time prevailing at a hearing.

We recommend to potential clients that they enter into a treating relationship with a physician who is well-educated in autoimmune disorders, such as a Rheumatologist or Pain Management Specialist, if they have not already done so. Only after all other conditions have been ruled out and there is a thorough evaluation consistent with a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, would we have enough information to help us in proving that a claimant is so disabled that she/he cannot perform any work at all for at least a 12-month period or more in order to qualify.

Please call us directly with any further questions.

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