Get the disability benefits you deserve! Discover actionable tips on how to win a fibromyalgia disability case and secure your benefits.
To be eligible for disability benefits related to fibromyalgia, you must meet the eligibility criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States. Fibromyalgia is assessed based on the symptoms it presents and the limitations it places on an individual’s ability to work. In this guide, we will explore the possibility of obtaining disability benefits for fibromyalgia.
Is Fibromyalgia Considered a Disability?
Fibromyalgia can be classified as a disability, but its categorization depends on the severity of the symptoms and how they affect an individual’s capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), which refers to the ability to work and earn a living. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and various other symptoms, and its impact can vary from person to person.
Can You Qualify for Disability Benefits Due to Fibromyalgia? Yes, it is possible to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in the United States due to fibromyalgia. SSI is a needs-based program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and both medical and financial criteria determine eligibility.
In cases of fibromyalgia, the SSA evaluates the severity and persistence of your symptoms and how they affect your ability to perform work-related activities. The SSA assesses your case based on medical evidence, which includes documentation of your diagnosis, treatment history, and the impact of fibromyalgia on your daily functioning.
How to Successfully Navigate a Fibromyalgia Disability Case
To be eligible for disability benefits due to fibromyalgia, you typically need to provide medical documentation that demonstrates the severity of your symptoms and the functional limitations imposed by the condition. This documentation may include medical records, treatment history, and statements from healthcare professionals detailing the impact of fibromyalgia on your daily activities and work-related tasks.
1. Select the Right Disability Lawyer:
Choosing the appropriate disability lawyer is crucial when navigating the process of applying for disability benefits. The experienced disability lawyers at Evans Disability have a track record of successfully utilizing, appealing, and winning Social Security Benefits for their clients.
2. Ensure Accurate Submission of SSA Paperwork:
Accurate paperwork submission to the Social Security Administration (SSA) is critical when applying for disability benefits. The accuracy of your paperwork can significantly influence the outcome of your application.
3. Collect Supporting Medical Evidence:
Provide evidence of a medically determinable impairment, such as a fibromyalgia diagnosis from a reputable medical source. Document fibromyalgia symptoms, including widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive difficulties (often referred to as “fibro fog”), sleep disturbances, and other associated symptoms.
4. Obtain a Doctor’s Medical Statement:
Obtaining a medical statement from your doctor is a vital step in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or other disability benefits. This statement, often in the form of a medical opinion or Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment, helps support your claim by providing evidence of your medical condition and its impact on your ability to work. Collaborate with your attorney to ensure your doctor and medical team support your disability application.
5. Accurately Complete the RFC Form:
The “Residual Functional Capacity” forms help the Social Security Administration understand the daily limitations in your life. It’s crucial for individuals applying for disability benefits to ensure that the RFC form accurately reflects the limitations imposed by their medical condition. Seeking assistance from a disability attorney or advocate can be valuable in this process, as they can help gather relevant medical evidence and ensure that the RFC form effectively communicates the impact of the medical condition on the individual’s ability to work.
6. Maintain a Fibromyalgia Symptom Diary:
Fibromyalgia symptoms should persist for at least 12 continuous months or be expected to result in death to qualify for disability benefits. A highly effective way to demonstrate to the Social Security Administration that fibromyalgia hinders your daily activities and work capacity is to maintain a symptom diary. Daily record your symptoms and how they affect your daily life, providing concrete examples, such as the inability to climb stairs for grocery shopping due to severe back pain.
7. Be Truthful About Your Disability Claim:
Honesty and accuracy are crucial for consistency throughout your application. Consistency is vital in building a coherent and credible narrative about your medical condition and its impact on your life. It is essential to be forthright in your disability application to enable the Social Security Administration to effectively review and approve your claim.
8. Precisely Describe Your Symptoms:
Fibromyalgia must meet the criteria of a “medically determinable impairment” as per the SSA. The severity of the impairment is pivotal in determining eligibility for benefits. Symptoms should be severe enough to significantly limit an individual’s ability to perform basic work activities.
9. Utilize Witness Testimonies:
Witnesses, including family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or other individuals who have observed the impact of your disability, can provide valuable insights into different aspects of your daily functioning. The credibility of a witness is essential, and the SSA may assign more weight to testimony from individuals with a close relationship to you, such as family members or friends who have regular contact and can attest to your limitations.
10. Adhere to All Claim Deadlines:
Meeting all deadlines in disability cases is vital for a successful outcome in the Social Security Disability application process. The process involves multiple steps, and adherence to deadlines ensures smooth progress. Familiarize yourself with the entire disability application process, understand the sequence of stages, and anticipate upcoming deadlines. Consider seeking assistance from a disability attorney or advocate, as they are experienced in navigating the application process and can guide you in meeting deadlines, submitting accurate information, and addressing potential challenges.
Fibromyalgia Disability Criteria for Eligibility
It’s important to note that fibromyalgia is assessed under the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, specifically under Section 14.09 – Inflammatory Arthritis. However, meeting the criteria of a listed impairment is not the sole pathway to qualify for disability benefits. If your symptoms are of equivalent severity to a listed impairment, you may still be eligible.
What to Do If Your Fibromyalgia Disability Claim Is Denied
If your application for disability benefits due to fibromyalgia is denied, it’s essential to take specific steps to appeal the decision. Carefully review the denial letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The letter should provide specific reasons for the denial and explain the steps you can take to appeal the decision.
Facing a Denied Disability Claim for Fibromyalgia?
Contact Us! The social security disability attorneys at Evans Disability have represented clients in numerous Disability Hearings for disability denials. For your best chance of success in your Social Security Disability Hearing, please reach out to the attorneys at Evans Disability at (855) 503-0101.