If you have fibromyalgia, you already know the odds are against you in many ways. For one thing, many of the symptoms that indicate fibromyalgia are “self-reporting.” This means they are symptoms for which there is no diagnostic test, and your doctor must accept that you are experiencing what you describe. For example, fatigue, depression and confusion can be quite subjective and won’t show up on an MRI or in a blood test.
Nevertheless, your symptoms are very real, and if they have reached the point where you are no longer able to work, you likely have some decisions to make. Among them may be whether the time is right to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. This is not always easy with a condition like fibromyalgia, and the first step is to find a way to prove your self-reporting symptoms.
Improving your chances of approval
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of diseases and conditions that are approved for disability benefits. If your condition is on that list, it will usually be much easier to obtain a fast approval. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is not on the list. However, Minnesota SSA agents will still consider your case based on your symptoms. Agents will discern whether your symptoms prevent you from working in any capacity and limit your ability to participate in normal life activities. The following evidence will help you demonstrate this:
- Medical records from every doctor, hospital, psychologist and specialist you have visited for your condition
- Copies of lab results from all relevant tests and scans
- Testimonies about your struggles with your symptoms from your family members, co-workers, employers and others who know you
- A statement of diagnosis from your rheumatologist that rules out any other medical conditions
- Your own logs and journals about how your symptoms restrict your abilities
Your documentation should note exactly where you feel pain, when it occurs and for how long the pain lasts. You will also want to keep detailed notes about any other fibromyalgia symptoms, such as fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, exhaustion, sleep disturbances and others.
The SSA may want to perform its own medical evaluation to determine whether you are able to sit or stand for long periods, lift moderately heavy items, or perform activities that require cognitive clarity. Your thorough documentation and cooperation may greatly improve your chances of beating the odds and obtaining the disability benefits you need.