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 criteria and will last longer than 12 months. You must also file an application and make a disability claim. But first, what is Fibromyalgia?
WHAT IS FIBROYMYALGIA?
Fibromyalgia is known to be a disease of widespread body pain. People with fibromyalgia may have heightened 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 a patient’s chronic body pain. Also, the doctor must verify that a number of symptoms are present. Additionally, Raynaud’s syndrome and pain associated 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 cannot still receive disability benefits.
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 disorders and it is not a mental impairment, it is a physical condition. It is possible, however, for fibromyalgia to coincide 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 component 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 difficulty 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. Your concentration can also be impaired by psychiatric conditions. 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
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 examination. 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 physician should perform digital palpation with an approximate force of 9 pounds (approximately the amount of pressure needed to blanch the thumbnail of the examiner). The physician 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 objective 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 carriers. It’s an objective test and it may help confirm the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. You should ask you doctor if you can have this blood test to see if you meet the criteria for Fibromyalgia.
One of the benefits of winning your disability 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 eligible for Medicaid or Medicare coverage.
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 you symptoms and impairments. The examiner is looking to see if you have a medically determinable impairment that results in a disabling condition.
Because the symptoms and signs of Fibromyalgia may vary in severity 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 full-time work. Therefore, the SSA should find you eligible for disability.
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, widespread body pain, severe fatigue, and any other symptoms, you should seek treatment from a physician.
In order to prove disability, you will need medical records from a treating physician and a history of treatment for the disorder. You cannot win your disability case without objective medical evidence from a treating physician.
The Cannon Disability team can help you gather evidence from your treating providers. 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 disability 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
You 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 consultation. We cannot guarantee we will take your case, but we will talk to you about your eligibility for disability 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 disability benefits. If we do agree to represent you, we do not charge you an attorney fee until we win your disability 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.