Is Fibromyalgia a Disability?


Jan Reburiano

Fibromyalgia is not a disability directly listed in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book, but you may qualify for benefits if you prove the severity of your condition.

Provide paperwork to the SSA that shows your fibromyalgia makes it impossible to work for at least 12 months and that you feel widespread pain throughout your body because of fibromyalgia.

Because fibromyalgia is not a listed disability, hiring a Social Security lawyer is essential to proving the severity of your condition to the SSA. LegalASAP has over 500+ law firms throughout the United States ready to assist you, so do not hesitate to call if you need help getting approved for your fibromyalgia claim.

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder that sends painful sensations throughout the body caused by how the brain and spinal cord processes pain signals.

Exact causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but the condition usually occurs after a significant physical or emotional event like surgery or psychological stress.

Additional symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unregulated bowel problems
  • Repeated migraine headaches
  • Muscle and joint stiffness
  • Memory, concentration, and focus issues (called “fibro fog”)
  • Balance problems and incoordination

Fibromyalgia affects 2 to 8 percent of the world population and has been known to affect women more than men. To get approved for SSI or SSDI benefits, it is important to prove that at least six instances of those symptoms were caused by fibromyalgia. A Social Security lawyer will ensure the right paperwork gets sent to the SSA.

Can People With Fibromyalgia Work?

People with fibromyalgia may be able to work if symptoms allow them to move without sufficient pain, but symptoms from fibromyalgia may be severe enough to be debilitating.

Sensitivity to light, fatigue, and brain fog from fibromyalgia can prevent you from performing simple tasks. Chronic pain may prevent you from pushing, pulling, and carrying simple objects.

You can qualify for Social Security Disability if you prove that fibromyalgia prevents substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months. This can be done through medical records, proper diagnoses from medical experts, and legal assistance with a Social Security disability attorney.

How to Prove Fibromyalgia For Your SSDI Claim

Medical records from an expert rheumatologist go a long way to proving that fibromyalgia prevents substantial gainful activity. Even though this condition is not listed directly in the SSA’s Blue Book, there are other qualifications for musculoskeletal disorders you may meet because of fibromyalgia.

It is important that your medical documents prove that fibromyalgia creates widespread pain throughout the body. Provide proof through X-ray scans and lab tests that show the effects of fibromyalgia and how it hinders your ability to work. Testimonies from family and friends who know you suffer from fibromyalgia will boost your claim.

Prove to the SSA that these symptoms were caused solely by fibromyalgia and not through other conditions. If you are making a Social Security claim for fibromyalgia and another condition, there are separate conditions you must meet to be approved. You may be rejected because those conditions are not met.

The Disability Determination Services (DDS) often rejects fibromyalgia claims at first because there is no determinable medical cause for that condition as of this writing. The SSA, however, created a set of regulations for this condition even though it may not be listed in the Blue Book of conditions.

Tender Points

Despite the lack of determinable cause, the SSA has created a set of regulations for fibromyalgia claims in SSR 12-2p.

One requirement to prove widespread pain listed in SSR 12-2p is to list “at least 11 positive tender points” around the body, located to the left and right of the body as well as above and below the waist.

SSR 12-2p requires the physician to make a digital palpation on these tender points with approximately nine pounds of force for each point. The tender point is considered positive if the subject experiences pain due to the force of the procedure.

Find a Social Security Attorney For Your Claim

If you have trouble filing for a Social Security claim based on fibromyalgia, LegalASAP has a network of Social Security attorneys all around the United States ready to assist you with your claim. You may get Social Security benefits faster through signing with a lawyer. Sign our contact form here to connect with a legal representative, or click the button below:

Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.