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FIBROMYALGIA AND DISABILITY BENEFITS

DISABILITY BENEFITS AND FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that the Social Security Administration recognizes for purposes of disability benefits. You can obtain Social Security disability benefits from the SSA if you have Fibromyalgia and are unable to work. However, you must show that you have a medically determinable impairment.

Likewise, you must prove that your Fibromyalgia meets certain rules and will last longer than 12 months. You must also file an application for benefits. You can file an application online on the Social Security’s website. But first, what is Fibromyalgia?

WHAT IS FIBROYMYALGIA?

Fibromyalgia is known to be a disease of widespread body pain. People with fibromyalgia may have a bigger pain response to pressure and soft tissue pain. Also, other symptoms include fatigue, sleep problems and trouble with memory. Some people also report restless legs syndrome.

Additionally, you may have bowel or bladder problems, like irritable bowel syndrome. Also, you may experience numbness and tingling in arms and legs, and sensitivity to noise, lights or temperature can be part of the illness. Fibromyalgia may link to Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

A medical doctor diagnosis Fibromyalgia after ruling out other potential causes of chronic body pain.  Also, the doctor must verify that a number of symptoms are present. Additionally, Raynaud’s syndrome and pain with pressure points on the body is common.

Your doctor will confirm the diagnosis after examining you and ruling out other illness. Because Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, it is not uncommon for your medical records to show “normal” results on testing. This does not mean that you are unable to win benefits.

fibromyalgia

MENTAL CONDITIONS AND DISABLING FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia, along with Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can result in disability. However, fibromyalgia is a separate diagnosis from these mental conditions. And, it is not a mental condition, it is a physical condition. It is possible, however, for fibromyalgia to exist along with mental conditions.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown. But, it can involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The condition can run in families. There are studies that show there may be a genetic element to the condition. Other factors may include stress, past or current trauma, and physical infections.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS AND DISABLING FIBROMYALGIA

Fibromyalgia pain can limit your ability to stand or sit for long periods of time. It can also affect your ability to lift, push, pull, and grasp with your hands. Those who experience joint pain from Fibromyalgia may also have problems with bending, lifting, walking, and standing.

The numbness and tingling from Fibromyalgia can make fine motor movements, like using your fingers to write or type, difficult. Additionally, it can cause symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome. Nausea and chronic fatigue and common physical symptoms as well.

Most importantly, the chronic fatigue which comes from Fibromyalgia can effect your ability to concentrate. If you cannot concentrate, then you cannot remain on task at work.

Several other symptoms can also make physical work impossible for those who suffer from Fibromyalgia. To qualify for SSD benefits, your Fibromyalgia symptoms must keep your from working for longer than 12 months.

SOCIAL SECURITY RULING 12-2p DISCUSSES FIBROMYALGIA

The SSA uses SSR 12-2p to evaluate fibromyalgia cases. For example, in order to find that you deserve benefits for fibromyalgia a person must have the following:

1. A history of widespread pain—that is, pain in all quadrants of the body (the right and left sides of the body, both above and below the waist) and axial skeletal pain (the cervical spine, anterior chest, thoracic spine, or low back)—that has persisted (or that persisted) for at least 3 months. The pain may fluctuate in intensity and may not always be present. Learn more about how the SSA evaluates pain here.

2. At least 11 positive tender points on physical exam. The positive tender points must be found on the left and right sides of the body and both above and below the waist.

a. The 18 tender point sites are located on each side of the body at the:

  • Occiputal (base of the skull);
  • Low cervical spine (back and side of the neck); Trapezius muscle (shoulder);
  • Supraspinatus muscle (near the shoulder blade); Second rib (top of the rib cage near the sternum or breast bone);
  • Lateral epicondyle (outer aspect of the elbow);
  • Gluteal (top of the buttock);
  • Greater trochanter (below the hip); and
  • Inner aspect of the knee.

b. In testing the tender-point sites, the doctor should perform digital palpation with an approximate force of 9 pounds (which is the amount of pressure needed to blanch the thumbnail of the examiner). The doctor considers a tender point to be positive if the person experiences pain when applying pressure to the site.

THERE IS A BLOOD TEST THAT CAN DIAGNOSE FIBROMYALGIA

There are doctors who believe that Fibromyalgia can be diagnosed with a newly developed blood test. This test is called the FM/a test. The FM/a test analyzes blood for abnormalities in “cytokines.” The immune system produces cytokines.

Patients with fibromyalgia have a very different pattern of cytokine production. This different pattern of production differentiates Fibromyalgia from other autoimmune disorders, such as Lupus or Inflammatory Arthritis.

The FM/a test is approved by Medicare and other insurance companies. It’s an objective test and it may help confirm whether or not you have fibromyalgia. You should ask you doctor if you can have this blood test to see if you meet the SSA’s rules for Fibromyalgia. To learn more information about Medicare benefits, read here.

One of the benefits of winning your case is that it can help with the costs of Fibromyalgia treatment. According to the American Academy of Neurology, the average cost for annual fibromyalgia treatment can add up to over $11,000 a person. This amount can be even greater if you don’t have health insurance to cover your treatments. If you win benefits, then you may also be able to receive Medicaid coverage. Learn more information about Medicaid benefits here.

THE SSA MAY SEND YOU TO A CONSULTATIVE EXAM TO EVALUATE YOUR FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOMS

SSR 12-2p also states that the SSA may purchase a consultative examination (CE), at no cost to you, to determine if you have fibromyalgia. If the SSA does send you to a CE, you need to go and explain your symptoms. The examiner is looking to see if you have a medically determinable impairment that results in you being unable to work.

Because the symptoms and signs of Fibromyalgia may vary over time, it is important that the doctor who performs the SSA exam has access to your past medical records. The doctor will look at your treatment over time.

However, even if the doctor does not have those records, it is likely the SSA will rely upon the CE opinion. Make sure to tell the doctor all of your Fibromyalgia symptoms, both physical and mental.

If you have Fibromyalgia and your symptoms are severe, then you will not be able to sustain work. Therefore, the SSA should pay you benefits for your fibromyalgia.

CALL CANNON DISABILITY IF YOU WANT TO WIN SSD & SSI

Fibromyalgia is a disorder according to the National Institute of Health and the American College of Rheumatology. If you have chronic, body pain, severe fatigue, and any other symptoms, you should seek treatment from a doctor.

In order to win benefits, you will need medical records from a treating doctor and a history of treatment for your mental or physical condition.  You cannot win your fibromyalgia case without medical evidence from a treating doctor.

The Cannon Law team can help you gather evidence from your treating doctors. For example, we obtain evidence for you when you file your application and on appeal. We want you to have the medical evidence you need to explain your issues to the judge.

Also, we will help you prepare for your hearing. Prior to the hearing, we will meet with you and discuss the kind of questions the ALJ might ask. We will also explain to you how to best answer the questions at your hearing. Find out more about our representatives on our About us page.

The legal help we offer creates trust in the attorney client relationship. As your SSD attorney, we want you to win the SSD and SSI benefits that you paid for by working. It is the goal of our law office to give you excellent legal advice. We also want to make the Social Security process easier for you, because it can be a difficult and frustrating process to go through.

LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR CANNON DISABILITY LAW LEGAL TEAM

HIRE A disability ATTORNEYYou can find out more about your legal team on this website. Dianna Cannon has been a disability lawyer for over 30 years. She is admitted to the bar in Utah. Learn more about Utah Disability benefits. Nevada Disabiltiy benefits information can be read about here. Also, you can learn about applying for disability benefits in California.

Likewise, attorney Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers also has over 20 years of experience helping claimants win disability benefits. She also helps people understand Medicare benefits.

If you have further questions about Fibromyalgia, call our office. Also, if  you believe you cannot work and need disability benefits, then you should also contact our office. We offer a free review of your case. We cannot guarantee we will take your case, but we will talk to you about whether you have a good chance of winning benefits. Not everyone is eligible. However, we will try to help you.

When you call, we will talk to you free of charge. And, we will let you know if we can help you win your case for Social Security benefits. If we do agree to represent you, we do not charge you an attorney fee until we win your case.

Therefore, you will not owe an attorney fee if we do not win your case. However, if there are costs in your case, you do pay them. But the cost for most cases is less than $100. Usually those costs consist in getting a copy of your medical records. You don’t have a job. So, we try to keep costs low. Call today. See what we can do for your fibromyalgia case.

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