We all get a little tired sometimes, as modern life can often be incredibly stressful. For most of us, feelings of tiredness eventually subside with adequate rest and relaxation. But for some, the fatigue never ends. Instead, it persists for months at a time and takes a serious toll on the sufferer’s ability to engage in the activities of daily living, including work. This condition is known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and those who are unable to work because they suffer from it may want to consider speaking to a Baltimore chronic fatigue syndrome lawyer to evaluate their eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
CFS is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months that cannot be attributed to an underlying medical condition. It is also sometimes known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The hallmark feature of CFS is that the fatigue does not go away as one would expect it to, such as after a good night’s sleep, making unrefreshing sleep one of the tell-tale signs of CFS. Some other signs and symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Sore throat
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Difficulties with memory and concentration
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
- Dizziness that worsens when going from sitting or lying down to standing
The exact causes of CFS are unknown. In some cases, it is thought to be the result of a viral infection, immune system problems, hormonal imbalances, and physical or emotional trauma. Age and sex are also thought to be risk factors, as it tends to affect young to middle-aged adults, and women most commonly.
Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Covered under the Social Security Disability Program?
CFS is a qualifying illness covered under the Social Security disability program, but it can be difficult to obtain benefits for it. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally will not accept self-reported symptoms of CFS as evidence of a medically determinable impairment, even though most CFS symptoms tend to be subjective. Instead, the SSA requires clinically documented proof of one or more of the following physical symptoms over a period of at least six months to establish an MDI for CFS:
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes on physical examination
- Nonexudative pharyngitis (i.e., a sore throat)
- Persistent, reproducible muscle tenderness on repeated examinations, including the presence of positive tender points
- Any other medical signs that are consistent with CFS, such as frequent viral infections with prolonged recovery, sinusitis, ataxia, extreme pallor, and weight change.
However, keep in mind that a doctor’s diagnosis of CFS alone is not sufficient to establish an MDI. Instead, the applicant’s medical file, as reviewed by the SSA, must show independent evidence of CFS based on physical exams. Such evidence can come in the form of elevated antibody titers to Epstein-Barr virus, an abnormal MRI brain scan, or neurally mediated hypertension shown by a tilt table test.
Contact a Baltimore Disability Lawyer for More Information
Obtaining Social Security disability benefits for CFS can be difficult. If you are considering applying, please speak to an attorney first by contacting Baltimore disability lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.