Fibromyalgia, also known as fibromyositis and myofascial pain syndrome, is, quite literally, a nerve-wracking condition that can have severe mental and physical effects. But, currently, the chronic pain disorder isn’t listed as an entry in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book listing of impairments.
Yet many people with fibromyalgia regularly apply for disability and are awarded SSDI benefits. For this reason, a disability seeker who has previously been denied shouldn’t give up. Pursuing a disability claim through the appeals process can have the determination reversed.
Improving Your Chances: Fibromyalgia and Disability Benefits in Florida
With so little understood about fibromyalgia and its diagnosis still, there’s a lot of uncertainty around qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Here are some things to keep in mind that can better your chances of winning your SSDI claim.
Be Certain of Your Diagnosis
Just the mention of a patient possibly having fibromyalgia has often been confused with the patient actually having been officially diagnosed with the disorder. Certify that your medical records reflect that you been diagnosed with the condition and that they contain the basis for that diagnosis.
Or you can consult a disability advocate who can assist you in going over your records and paperwork. Have you actually been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or has your doctor merely suggested that you might suffer from it? Your advocate will help you make that distinction with certainty, easing your mind and clarifying things for you.
Get a Referral to a Specialist
It’s common for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia from a primary care physician to be counted as insufficient for a claim to a disability reward. Oftentimes, evaluators at the SSA fail to give the proper weight to a diagnosis of fibromyalgia because they feel it is an umbrella diagnosis used to vaguely give cause to pain a patient might be suffering.
Try to get a referral to a specialist like an orthopedist or a rheumatologist who can give you the same diagnosis and provide a more detailed analysis of your symptoms. Do not seek a diagnosis from a mental health professional. Fibromyalgia is often over-diagnosed. For this reason, the SSA evaluators view a psychiatrist’s diagnosis with skepticism.
Ask for a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Form
An RFC details what you are capable of doing despite your impairments. The SSA uses your RFC to decide whether your limitations keep you from working full-time. You or your advocate should ask your specialist to provide the details of your limitations like:
- sitting, standing, or walking, both at a time and total in an 8-hour workday
- lifting and carrying weight
- bending, stooping, balancing, crouching, and crawling
- maintaining timeliness and proper attendance at work
Your specialist should also elaborate on whether you'd be required to take frequent or unscheduled breaks due to symptoms of fatigue or pain.
Applying for and being awarded disability benefits for fibromyalgia is difficult, but not unheard of. With an official diagnosis and a thorough record of evidence detailing how your symptoms limit your abilities, you can win the support you need. At Disability Experts of Florida, we know our way around the system, can help you prepare and present documentation, and advise you on any questions you may have. Contact us today.