Is Fibromyalgia A Disability?

Many medical disabilities can impact a person’s quality of living. Such conditions may even greatly affect the lives of family and friends. One such disabling condition is fibromyalgia (FM). Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain all over the body which can include symptoms of fatigue, sleep, memory, and emotional or mental distress.

Although fibromyalgia is relatively common, it can become devastating. Marked by widespread pain throughout the entire body, fibromyalgia is a very complex condition. It can affect the joints and tendons. It can affect muscles and soft tissues. It is a medical condition that can cause severe pain and discomfort.

However, not all cases of fibromyalgia are labelled as ‘disability.’ People with fibromyalgia often take medicine, such as pain killers, to reduce the symptoms. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia does not simply go away. It is considered a chronic condition that lasts for life. It does not get worse with time. It is not considered progressive.

People with fibromyalgia may have many options. They can use physical therapy and medicine. They can try yoga and mindfulness. Major lifestyle changes may improve fibromyalgia symptoms. In some cases, however, FM becomes very severe. In serious cases, people with FM should seek benefits.

Can You Get Disability for Fibromyalgia?

When fibromyalgia becomes too much, sufferers should apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA is a federal agency that provides benefits for many people. One type of benefit that a person with Fibromyalgia can apply for is for disability

These monthly payments help many people who are disabled and unable to work.

As of now, the SSA provides two programs for social security disability. Both the SSDI and SSI programs help disabled individuals. Both programs rely on the same definition of disability.

Fibromyalgia Social Security Requirements

The SSA will first look to see that a person has a total disability. A total disability is a condition that is proven by a doctor. This is what the SSA calls a “medically determinable impairment” (MDI).

When assessing an MDI, the SSA will closely evaluate the medical source. Only a medical doctor is acceptable. The SSA will look beyond the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. The medical source must provide a substantial amount of proof.

This evidence includes a medical history review and a physical exam. From there, the SSA will review and assess the doctor’s notes to see if they show a fibromyalgia diagnosis. The SSA will then evaluate the symptoms and physical abilities of the patient as well.

Fibromyalgia And Disability are complicated. The Disability must also:

  • Have lasted, or be expected to last, for a full year; or
  • Be expected to result in death; and
  • Prevent substantial gainful activity (SGA)

Fibromyalgia is a complex disorder that can be confused with other issues. People with fibromyalgia often have other disorders as well. People with FM may have headaches. People with FM may also have joint problems. Some people even have depression.

Fibromyalgia Disability Benefits

Many individuals with fibromyalgia are women. Other symptoms include extreme fatigue and difficulty thinking. Research shows that people with FM have a different brain chemistry. This makes the pain worse.

Sometimes, the pain is too much. It can be impossible to work. This is why Fibromyalgia SSA Disability benefits are so needed.

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia does not have a known cause. Some people develop fibromyalgia after surgeries or infections. Other people can get FM from physical or mental trauma. Sometimes, FM comes out of nowhere. This can make diagnosing FM very difficult.

People with FM should apply for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In some cases, applicants may qualify for benefits under both programs.

Fibromyalgia SSI benefits are given to disabled people who are of limited means which refers to a lack of assets and resources. In other words, the person is most likely impoverished. Meanwhile, applicants for SSDI must be disabled and have a work history. The SSA will assign you a certain number of ‘work credits’ based on that history.

If you do not have enough work credits, you will not be Getting Disability For Fibromyalgia under the SSDI program.

The SSA’s definition of disability requires that the applicant struggles with having the ability to work. The term, substantial gainful activity (SGA), refers to a certain threshold. A person who is able to engage in SGA will exceed that level.

Fibromyalgia And Disability Benefits In Detail

The level for SGA is a monthly amount of earnings. Blind individuals are permitted to make more and still qualify. The SGA amount usually changes slightly every year.

As of 2019, non-blind individuals cannot earn over $1,220 for the month. Blind persons can earn as much as $2040. If you exceed SGA, you do not qualify for benefits. People with short-term and partial disabilities do not qualify.

People with Fibromyalgia Qualify For Disability if:

  1. They have at least a 3-month history of widespread pain in all quadrants of the body. The pain must occur on the left and right of the body. It must also occur below and above the waist. The pain must also be “axial skeletal pain.” This can occur in four areas. Two areas are in the spine. One area is in the chest. One area is in the lower back.
  2. They have at least 11 “positive tender points” upon physical exam. These points must be in all four quadrants. If they are not, you may not receive Fibromyalgia Disability Benefits.
  3. Evidence indicates that other disorders do not cause the symptoms.

These criteria can be very complicated. The SSA will require a lot of medical proof. You will have to show a diagnosis. You will have to show a history of problems. You will need a lot of paperwork. You may need second opinions. Sometimes, the SSA will ask that you visit a specialist.

In the end, getting SSDI or SSI for Fibromyalgia benefits can be very hard. Before you apply for benefits, hire a lawyer to increase your chance of receiving benefits. You deserve an attorney you can trust. Find a law firm that understands the eligibility criteria and other details about Fibromyalgia-related disability benefits.

Contact the disability attorneys in San Antonio at Khattar Law, PC today, and get your case evaluated. We can fight for your rights until you receive the disability benefits you need to live your life on your terms.