What’s the secret to getting disability benefits for fibromyalgia? This painful condition is more common than many people think. Luckily, the Social Security Administration (SSA) passed a 2012 law regarding Americans with fibro who apply for disability benefits. We’ll explain what the SSA looks for, which evidence will best support your claim and how your doctor can help you qualify below.
Before the SSA evaluates your fibromyalgia, they must confirm you meet all other disability requirements. To do this, you must:
That first requirement is what gets most applicants turned down. Once you stop working for 60 months, your federal disability insurance coverage automatically ends. And if you apply for disability while you’re working, the SSA won’t approve your claim.
Next, you should know what the SSA looks for when reviewing fibromyalgia claims for disability. As you probably know, no fibromyalgia test exists. Instead, most doctors look at many different symptoms that persist over time to make a diagnosis. And, in fact, that’s exactly what the SSA looks for in your disability claim. Here are the three steps your claims examiner will take when reviewing your claim for fibromyalgia:
The final step is determining whether your condition(s) forces you to stop working for at least one year. This is how the SSA defines the word “disability,” and a fibromyalgia diagnosis alone isn’t enough. The SSA looks for additional evidence from your doctor that supports your claim. Your rheumatologist, osteopath or any doctor that treats your fibromyalgia should complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form. Your doctor should give clear examples showing why fibromyalgia limits your ability to work 40 hours per week (a.k.a. your “functionality”). These things may help support your disability claim:
Finally, the SSA will look for other jobs that might hire people with your work experience and educational background. For example: If you quit your construction job, is there a sedentary office position available that pays a similar wage? If not, you’re much more likely to qualify for disability benefits.
Women are much more likely to develop fibro than men. When it comes to fibromyalgia and getting disability benefits, be sure to list all related health issues on your application. Many people with fibromyalgia experience the following related health problems:
These issues are often severe enough on their own to make you stop working. The ability to sit or stand for long periods of time can be painful. Chronic fibromyalgia-related pain issues can sometimes lead to additional health complications. Our best advice is this: List all your health problems, symptoms and current medications on your application. This includes every drug side effect, dosage and how often you take each medication. Don’t expect fibromyalgia alone to make you eligible for disability. But combine all your health issues together, and you’re much more likely qualify for SSD benefits.
If cannot work due to fibromyalgia, you should apply for SSD benefits. While fibro has no known cure, a good attorney knows how to get you the most benefits you deserve paid faster. We can match you with the closest disability attorney in your area who’s available to help you. Most doctors don’t know how to perform a “tender point” medical exam or document your results. But a disability lawyer can provide all the forms you need, give clear instructions to your doctor and file all the required paperwork for you.
All disability lawyers work on contingency. That means unless a lawyer helps you win a lump-sum cash settlement, you owe $0 for legal assistance with your claim. Having a lawyer file your application makes you 2x more likely to get approved for disability benefits on your first try. Only about 1 in 5 first-time disability applicants get approved right away, and most file claims through an attorney.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!