Fibromyalgia is often a serious, debilitating condition that makes gainful work difficult. However, many Fibromyalgia patients who apply for Social Security Disability are initially denied. This is because the cause of Fibromyalgia is not understood yet, and because its symptoms are largely subjective. There are not typical objective indicators – like an X-ray or blood test – of the disease or of its severity, which makes it difficult for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to evaluate.
While the SSA doesn’t have a specific disability “Listing” for the condition, they will look at how the combination of a) your physical limitations from all of your conditions (as described by doctors and yourself), b) your age, and c) your past work experience and education; limit your ability to find gainful employment.
At Kirsch & Clark we have successfully obtained disability benefits for clients with Fibromyalgia. We urge clients to get a formal diagnosis of Fibromyalgia (if they have not already) from a Rheumatologist who uses American College of Rheumatology (ACR) guidelines. (See http://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/2010%20Fibromyalgia%20Diagnostic%20Criteria_Excerpt.pdf). Regular doctor visits documenting your symptoms and your efforts to follow doctors’ directives also are important. If you have other conditions – arthritis, sleep disorders, degenerative disc disease, depression, for example – make sure you are getting help for those too, since the SSA will look at the whole picture. It is also important to make sure your doctor understands how Fibromyalgia, and any other conditions you have, affect you. His or her support will heavily influence the success of your claim.
At Kirsch & Clark we use our experience and legal expertise to advocate for you. We make sure your record is complete and encourage you to journal about your symptoms. If your claim requires a hearing (which is often the case when Fibromyalgia is involved), we carefully document and describe your condition in the most objective way possible in a written legal brief and go with you before the judge. We realize your condition affects your ability to concentrate and get things done without being overwhelmed, and we can help so your claim for benefits is more manageable.