Fibromyalgia can be a very debilitating condition and greatly inhibit your ability to work. Should you also develop anxiety disorder and/or depression – which isn’t uncommon for those with fibromyalgia – it can greatly exacerbate your condition and make it nearly, if not completely, impossible to work.
The Problem with Fibromyalgia and SSDI
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to those who are disabled and no longer able to work. The problem with those whose disability stems from fibromyalgia is that the Social Security Administration doesn’t include the condition in the listing requirements. In other words, fibromyalgia in and of itself doesn’t merit SSDI requirements.
In fact, if you make a fibromyalgia-related SSDI claim, the Rhode Island Disability Determination Service (DDS) may not take the case seriously unless you have another qualifying condition, such as arthritis or degenerative disc disease, or meet other requirements set forth by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA).
Applicants must have a history of widespread pain on the right and left side of the body, and above and below the waist. Applicants must also have at least 11 tender points and evidence that other conditions that could cause the symptoms are ruled out.
Instead of the tender points requirement, they may have six or more fibromyalgia symptoms, including:
- fibro-fog (cognitive and memory problems);
- waking feeling unrefreshed;
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS);
- depression; and
Accompanying Anxiety Disorders and Depression
If you are diagnosed with additional conditions, you’ll need to report the information to the SSA so it can take them into consideration when evaluating your claim. Furthermore, anxiety disorder and depression lowers patients’ pain threshold, essentially worsening fibromyalgia symptoms. These types of mental conditions can help support your claim.
Are you unable to work?
The bottom line is your working capacity; the SSA’s primary task is to determine whether or not your disability affects your capacity to work. If your conditions are such that you are unable to work – and you can prove it – you may pursue SSDI. Being able to prove your claim is key. You’ll need ample medical evidence and doctors’ reports to support your condition.
Among other evidence, you may need:
- a mental residual functional capacity (RFC) form (which discusses how your condition affects your ability to work); and
- evidence that you meet the American College of Rheumatology’s criteria for fibromyalgia.
Free Legal Consult with a Social Security Attorney
Fibromyalgia cases are some of the toughest SSDI claims. A Social Security attorney can help you with the process and represent your best interests as you pursue disability benefits from the SSA.
If you live in Rhode Island, we invite you to call our team at Rob Levine and Associates for legal counsel. We can help defend your rights, build your case, and obtain the disability benefits you need. Contact us today for a free case evaluation: 866-LAW-SSDI (866-529-7734).