Fibromyalgia and Qualifying for Social Security Disability
Numerous claimants’ applications for Social Security Disability have been denied when their primary severe medical impairment is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that is challenging for any attorney to prove under the strict standards of Social Security Disability rules. Under a relatively recent Social Security ruling, fibromyalgia symptoms are evaluated similarly to a chronic pain condition and can be a Medically Determinable Impairment (MDI) under the criteria set forth in SSR 12-2p with evaluation of symptoms including diffuse pain, fatigue, depression and difficulty with memory. The doctors that Social Security may send an applicant to for evaluation may not be specialists and the limited, one-time examination will likely not be supportive of an applicant’s claim. Therefore, claimants with fibromyalgia should be prepared for a lengthy process of denials and appeals.
However, these types of cases can be won, especially with the help of a qualified, experienced Social Security Disability attorney. We recently won our case on behalf of a younger female client with documented fibromyalgia at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. In our case, our client had a lengthy and well-documented history of an extremely debilitating chronic pain syndrome with objective medical evidence (i.e., blood tests; tests revealing diminished strength in the hands) and credible treating physician opinions that supported her claim that as a younger individual under the age of 50, she could not perform any work. Opinions from a long-time treating specialist, in this case, a Rheumatologist, were very helpful in helping us to win benefits on behalf of our client. Without this type of medical evidence, a claimant will have a very difficult time prevailing at a hearing.
I strongly recommend to our fibromyalgia clients that they enter into a treating relationship with a physician who is well-educated in autoimmune disorders, such as a Rheumatologist or Pain Management Specialist, if they have not already done so. Only after all other conditions have been ruled out and there is a thorough evaluation consistent with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, would we have enough evidence documented in the medical records to help us in proving that a younger claimant is so disabled that she/he cannot perform any work at all for at least a 12-month period or more in order to qualify.
Please call the Law Offices of Kevan H. Spence us directly with any questions.