It can be difficult to get your disability application approved if you’re claiming you can no longer work due to fibromyalgia, a condition with no known cause, that can be extremely difficult to treat.
The problem is that when reviewing applications, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks for objective evidence, such as x-rays and MRIs, and a fibromyalgia diagnosis is largely based on subjective complaints.
Still, it is possible to receive disability benefits for fibromyalgia.
While there is no listing for fibromyalgia, there is a Social Security ruling, SSR 12-2p that guides examiners and judges in determining whether a claimant’s fibromyalgia is a medically determinable impairment, which is the first step to getting a claim approved.
SSR 12-2p first requires that there is medical evidence of widespread chronic pain that has been documented for at least three months. Objective tests, such as x-rays and MRIs, also must be used to rule out any other causes, such as a pinched nerve or degenerative disc disease.
Then, the claimant must demonstrate either one of the following:
- Positive tender points in at least 11 of 18 areas. These areas include the base of the skull, shoulder muscles, the outer elbows, and the inner knees.
- Repeated occurrence of at least six symptoms of fibromyalgia, including fatigue, cognitive and memory issues, waking up tired, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
Even then, with all that evidence, the claimant’s fibromyalgia is only considered a medically determinable impairment. To actually be approved for disability, the claimant still must prove that he or she is incapable of working due to the condition.
To increase your odds of approval for disability, consider getting your fibromyalgia diagnosis confirmed by a rheumatologist, as these specialists are more experienced in diagnosing the disease than general practitioners.
In addition, if you can get your rheumatologist to complete a medical source statement better outlining your limitations due to fibromyalgia, this can be an extremely strong piece of evidence when your case goes to hearing.