By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Living with fibromyalgia can be incredibly challenging. From the constant pain and fatigue to the cognitive difficulties and sleep disturbances, every day can feel like an uphill battle. For those unable to work due to the debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can provide crucial financial support. However, obtaining these benefits can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve been denied initially. That’s where the experienced Florida Social Security Disability Attorneys at Disability Advocates Group come in – we’re here to guide you through the process and fight for the benefits you deserve.

Understanding Fibromyalgia and Disability Benefits

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep issues, and cognitive problems. While the exact cause of fibromyalgia remains unknown, it is widely recognized as a disabling condition that can significantly impact an individual’s ability to work and perform daily activities.

When applying for SSDI or SSI benefits due to fibromyalgia, it’s essential to understand the specific criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). To qualify for benefits, you must demonstrate that your condition meets the SSA’s definition of disability, which includes:

  1. Inability to Work: You must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to your medical condition. SGA refers to any work that earns above a certain monthly income threshold set by the SSA.
  2. Severity of Impairment: Your medical records must provide evidence of the severity of your fibromyalgia symptoms, including medical documentation of widespread pain and other associated symptoms.
  3. Duration of Impairment: Your symptoms must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death.

Common Challenges and Denials

Despite the significant impact of fibromyalgia on daily functioning, many individuals find themselves facing denials when applying for SSDI or SSI benefits. Some common reasons for denials include:

  • Lack of Sufficient Medical Evidence: The SSA relies heavily on medical evidence to assess disability claims. If your medical records do not adequately document the severity and impact of your fibromyalgia symptoms, your claim may be denied.
  • Failure to Meet Listing Criteria: Fibromyalgia does not have its own specific listing in the SSA’s Blue Book of impairments. Instead, applicants must demonstrate that their symptoms are equivalent in severity to another listed impairment.
  • Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessments: The SSA will assess your ability to perform work-related activities despite your limitations. If they determine that you have the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary or light work, your claim may be denied.

Strategies for Success

If you’ve been denied SSDI or SSI benefits for fibromyalgia, don’t lose hope. There are several strategies you can pursue to increase your chances of success:

  1. Seek Legal Representation: Navigating the SSDI or SSI appeals process can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with a condition like fibromyalgia. A qualified disability attorney can help you understand your rights, gather necessary evidence, and represent you at hearings.
  2. Gather Comprehensive Medical Evidence: Work closely with your healthcare providers to ensure that your medical records accurately reflect the severity and impact of your fibromyalgia symptoms. This may include detailed documentation of pain levels, functional limitations, and the effects of any medications or treatments.
  3. Obtain Supporting Statements: Statements from friends, family members, and former employers can provide valuable insight into how your fibromyalgia affects your daily life and ability to work. These statements can help corroborate your claims and strengthen your case.
  4. Prepare for Hearings: If your initial application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision and request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Your attorney can help you prepare for the hearing by reviewing potential questions, gathering additional evidence, and presenting your case effectively.

How Disability Advocates Group Can Help

At Disability Advocates Group, we understand the unique challenges faced by individuals with fibromyalgia seeking SSDI or SSI benefits. Our experienced team of disability attorneys is dedicated to helping clients navigate the complex disability claims process and secure the benefits they deserve.

From gathering medical evidence to representing you at hearings, we will work tirelessly to advocate for your rights and ensure that your voice is heard. If you’ve been denied SSDI or SSI benefits for fibromyalgia, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We’re here to help you navigate the path to success and achieve financial stability during this difficult time.

Conclusion

Living with fibromyalgia is tough enough without having to worry about financial insecurity. If you’ve been denied SSDI or SSI benefits due to fibromyalgia, remember that you’re not alone. Whether you call Tampa or Port St. Lucie home, Disability Advocates Group is here to provide the guidance and support you need to navigate the appeals process successfully. With our experienced SSI and SSDI lawyers by your side, you can focus on your health while we fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you secure the financial assistance you need to move forward with confidence.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.