Our Washington DC and Baltimore Fibromyalgia Disability Lawyer Will Pursue Your Compensation Options
Fibromyalgia is a common condition, albeit one that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Its primary symptoms are widespread pain throughout the body, fatigue, and mood abnormalities. While these symptoms vary in intensity from sufferer to sufferer (and even from day to day), severe fibromyalgia symptoms can take a significant toll on the sufferer’s ability to engage in the activities of daily living, not to mention their ability to work. Fibromyalgia sufferers also face an uphill battle when applying for Social Security disability benefits, as there is no specific listing for fibromyalgia in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book. Fibromyalgia may nonetheless qualify the sufferer for benefits, but such claims call for the assistance of a Baltimore fibromyalgia disability lawyer.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but researchers believe that repeated nerve stimulation leading to changes in the brain and spinal cord are to blame. Several factors, including genetics, infections, and physical trauma (such as a car accident) can increase an individual’s risk of developing it.
There are three primary symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Widespread pain. The pain generally affects both sides of the body and above and below the waist. It is often described as a “constant dull ache.”
- Fatigue. Fibromyalgia frequently causes its sufferers to wake up tired despite having gotten a full night’s sleep.
- Cognitive impairments. Fibromyalgia sufferers frequently report difficulty thinking and remembering, as well as “brain fog.”
Diagnosing fibromyalgia is difficult because it shares many of its symptoms with other conditions. As such, many fibromyalgia diagnoses are done through a process of elimination. Some common red herrings for fibromyalgia are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, depression and anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis.
Can I Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with Fibromyalgia?
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits for fibromyalgia is difficult, as there is no official Blue Book listing for the condition. However, in 2012, the SSA issued a policy interpretation ruling outlining the circumstances under which fibromyalgia could qualify as a medically determinable impairment (MDI) sufficient for disability benefits.
Fibromyalgia may qualify as an MDI if the sufferer meets all three of the following criteria:
- A history of widespread pain in all quadrants of the body (left side, right side, and above and below the waist) and axial skeletal pain that has persisted for at least three months
- At least 11 positive tender points at the following locations:
- The base of the skull
- Back and side of the neck
- Shoulder blade
- Top of the rib cage
- Outer elbow
- Top of the buttock
- Below the hip
- Inner knee
3. Evidence that other disorders that could cause the symptoms or signs have been excluded
As with all qualifying disabilities, the SSA must also find that fibromyalgia so limits the sufferer’s abilities that it precludes him or her from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
Contact a Washington DC or Baltimore Fibromyalgia Disability Lawyer
Applying for disability benefits with fibromyalgia can often be more difficult than with other conditions. To increase your chances of success, please contact Baltimore Social Security disability lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form. We also provide service to clients located in Washington DC.