More than 12 million Americans suffer from Fibromyalgia. The condition can be very debilitating, causing depression, fatigue and widespread pain. It is no surprise that those who suffer from Fibromyalgia are often unable to work and find themselves needing to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. If you are living with Fibromyalgia and are wondering whether or not your disability claim will be successful, there are some things you need to know.
Fibromyalgia Conditions and Symptoms
Fibromyalgia usually develops in women between the ages of 25 and 60. While men can also suffer from the condition, females are ten times more likely to develop Fibromyalgia than men are. It is estimated that as many as two percent of the population currently suffer from Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a very painful condition. People suffering from it often experience widespread pain and, to make matters worse, those who have Fibromyalgia also tend to have a lower pain tolerance due to the effects of the condition. This can intensify the symptoms and may have a significant impact on one's quality of life.
In certain cases, Fibromyalgia may cause depression, anxiety and fatigue in addition to the physical symptoms presented. Oftentimes certain parts of the body will be painful to touch and it is not uncommon for redness and swelling to appear. Many of the people who suffer from this ailment experience joint pain, muscle spasms and pain in the neck, shoulders, back and hip as well.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Fibromyalgia
If you are suffering from Fibromyalgia and wish to file a Social Security Disability claim, there are some things you need to know. First and foremost, it is important to understand that Fibromyalgia is difficult to prove. There are no laboratory tests that can confirm or exclude the condition. In order to diagnose Fibromyalgia your doctor will need to rely on your medical history, exclusionary testing and a comprehensive physical exam.
In order to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia you must have been experiencing the symptoms of the condition for at least three months. You must also have points on your body that are sensitive to touch and tests must be run to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. You may have to undergo many tests and visit many doctors before getting a firm Fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, the battle is not over just because you have the diagnosis in hand. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not list Fibromyalgia as a qualifying condition in its listing of Social Security Disability impairments. Because of this, it is very common for an initial Social Security Disability claim to be denied when the application is based on a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. That does not, however, mean that you will not be able to successfully appeal the denial of your claim. Many people who have been denied at the initial stage based on a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia go on to appeal the decision and win.
If your Social Security Disability claim is based on Fibromyalgia along with another medical diagnosis, it will be much easier to have your claim approved than it will be if you are filing a claim based on Fibromyalgia alone. This is because many people do not understand Fibromyalgia and are unaware of the impact it can have on one's ability to work. Social Security examiners are no exception to this rule.
How your condition was diagnosed will also play a role in the success of your Social Security Disability claim. If you have had your condition diagnosed by a family doctor or generalist, it will not carry as much weight as a diagnosis that has been made by a Rheumatologist or Orthopedist. If you have not yet seen a specialist to verify your Fibromyalgia diagnosis, you may want to do so before filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
If your initial claim is denied, you should not give up on receiving Social Security Disability benefits for your Fibromyalgia condition. What you need to do is appeal the decision within sixty days of receiving the notice of decision from the SSA. You should also consider hiring a Social Security Disability attorney to represent you during the appeal process. It is often much easier to win an appeal if you have a qualified disability attorney help you with your claim.