Social Security Disability Claims based on Fibromyalgia

Social Security Disability Claims based on Fibromyalgia

shutterstock_209301169An individual can receive Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI based on the condition of fibromyalgia.  In 2012, the Social Security Administration did determine that fibromyalgia is in fact a medically determinable impairment.  Prior to that time there was suspicion about whether or not the impairment was real or scientifically supported.  Now; however, Social Security requires the judge and adjudicators who assess cases of fibromyalgia to look at the American College of Rheumatology standards regarding the disease.  The American College of Rheumatology has determined is a few things that fibromyalgia is basically a diagnosis of omission, meaning that in order for a doctor to diagnose fibromyalgia he/she has to have exhausted all the other possible potential diagnoses for that condition.  That means that often my fibromyalgia clients are going to have many MRIs, cat scans and bone density tests on record and none of it shows any other possible illness such as arthritis, lupus or chronic fatigue syndrome.  So almost by default fibromyalgia will be the assessment.

Fibromyalgia involves chronic and severe pain throughout the entire body and another way the American Rheumatology College determines if you have fibromyalgia is not just through the absence of other clinical testing that it is something else but through trigger point testing.  In order to satisfy that criteria a person needs to have their doctor perform trigger point testing on various body parts and eleven of those eighteen trigger points must have been affected by the fibromyalgia.  Finally in order to confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia your medical records need to show the symptomatology that is consistent with fibromyalgia which can include things like fibro fog, when people have trouble concentrating and remembering due to the fibromyalgia.  Other examples are depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, extreme fatigue.  I will say fibromyalgia cases are rather difficult to win.  In order to win that case I almost always need the opinion of a treating rheumatologist.  A primary care physician’s record of opinion is often not enough to win a fibromyalgia case.  I need a rheumatologist who specializes in that condition to fill out one of my fibromyalgia forms and a pine that the person cannot work due to the condition.  Additionally you can have fibromyalgia and other impairments and the combination of those impairments may also result in disability.

This short informational blog post was provided by Anne Howard, an experienced Connecticut Social Security Disability Lawyer.