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I Have Fibromyalgia, Can I Qualify for Social Security Disability?

You have fibromyalgia, and among the battles you face every day to live a normal life, you are trying to obtain Social Security Disability benefits with a illness that sometimes isn’t recognized as a medical condition. Records reflecting symptoms are needed to document all physical and/or mental findings pointing to evidence that you have fibromyalgia. The Social Security Administration will recognize a medically determinable impairment if the records for at least six consecutive months show one or more of the following:

  • low-grade fever;
  • palpably swollen and tender lymph nodes;
  • nonexudative pharyngitis; and/or
  • muscle wasting

Some CFS sufferers report problems with short-term memory, comprehension, concentration, speech and/or calculation. Others may exhibit signs of mental or emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression. When documented by mental status examination and/or psychological testing, these findings mark the presence of a medically determinable impairment.

So, when you have disabling fatigue, getting a thorough examination, even if a definitive diagnosis is not possible, will provide the medical documentation needed should this condition become so impairing as to force your patient to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Also, your documentation of your symptoms is critical since symptoms alone cannot be the basis for finding a medically determinable impairment, which is necessary to prove disability under Social Security law.

The SSA recognizes fibromyalgia as “medically determined” if the tender points identified by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) are documented.

The ACR defines fibromyalgia as “widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months … [in] at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points which cluster around the neck and shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.”

Other typical symptoms which may help prove you have fibromyalgia documented over time are irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, sleep disorder, severe fatigue and cognitive dysfunction.

How our experienced disability attorneys can help

If you are confused about your SGA or your income limits, or need help applying for benefits or appealing a denial of benefits with the SSA, you should consider hiring a disability benefits lawyer or advocate. A lawyer or advocate can help you gather necessary evidence, fill out your application, and make sure that you maximize your chance of receiving the disability benefits you need.

At Kalfus & Nachman PC, we've helped hundreds of people get the disability help they are entitled to. The process of applying for early Social Security Disability benefits can be long and frustrating. Without legal help, it can take up to 2 ½ years to get benefits. Hiring Kalfus & Nachman PC to help you receive these benefits can significantly lessen this waiting period. We have solid experience and understand complicated federal regulations governing Social Security Disability claims. We'll help you get through the system to get the benefits you need. Call us today!

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