Can I Get SSDI Benefits If I Suffer From Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia reportedly affects between six million to twelve million people across the United States, including residents of Maryland. According to the American Chronic Pain Association, approximately 90 percent of people affected by fibromyalgia are female.
Given the prevalence of fibromyalgia in Maryland and across the country, an important question you may be asking yourself is the following – can I apply for, and obtain, Social Security disability benefits after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia?
The answer is – it depends.
For many years, the Social Security Administration was reluctant to award SSDI benefits of someone claiming disability solely on the basis of fibromyalgia. However, the government agency changed course in recent years and recognized the diagnosis of fibromyalgia as a sufficient basis to seek disability benefits.
What Needs to Be Shown to Secure SSDI Benefits After a Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
A key issue when analyzing the viability of your disability application is whether fibromyalgia is a considered to be an MDI (which stands for medically determinable impairment).
You will need to have a diagnosis from a licensed physician to have any chance of your application being approved. That means a diagnosis provided by a nurse practitioner or chiropractor will likely not carry the day.
In addition, the notations made by the physician must feature evidence showing a generalized widespread pain for a minimum of three months. The notes should also expressly state that other potential causes for your ailment (such as lupus, Lyme disease, arthritis, etc.) have been ruled out.
Showing You Cannot Work Due to Your Fibromyalgia
Simply being diagnosed with fibromyalgia will not be sufficient to secure SSDI benefits. There needs to be evidence that your fibromyalgia is the proximate cause in a dramatic decrease in your work productivity due to intense fatigue, cognitive decline, or overall pain.
The types of medical evidence to substantiate this loss of productivity include the following:
- Medical notes from your regular visits to a licensed physician describe the above-referenced symptoms frequently;
- Medical notes from your doctor’s visits contain this information for a fairly long time period (e.g., at least three months);
- Your treating physician who made the diagnosis of fibromyalgia provides a written opinion concerning your consistent pain and subsequent limitations and how they have adversely affected your ability to continue working.
Have Questions About Your Eligibility for SSDI Benefits After Being Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia? Contact a Maryland Social Security Disability Lawyer
If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a licensed physician and are unable to continue working due to persistent, chronic fatigue, pain, and other symptoms, you may be able to pursue a claim for Social Security disability benefits. If you are planning to apply for SSDI benefits, do not attempt to navigate the application process on your own. There is a litany of timelines, documents, and prerequisites you need to be aware of in order to have a chance to obtain benefits. We are here to help. Contact the Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Associates, LLC today. Our law firm is located in Glen Burnie with satellite offices in Annapolis, Owings Mills, and Ellicott City.