Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

When the pain of fibromyalgia disables you

It started with pain, either all over your body or at specific points, like your shoulder, hips or knees. Or maybe your first symptom was mind-numbing fatigue so powerful you could hardly drag yourself out of bed. You may have thought you had the flu or you had overworked yourself. However, the symptoms didn't go away; instead, they got worse.

Based on your research, you may be certain you have fibromyalgia. If you know anyone who has suffered with this debilitating condition, you know the pain is often indescribable. You may also know that it is one of the most difficult conditions to diagnose and, therefore, one of the most difficult for which to claim Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

How do I qualify for SSDI?

The symptoms of FM may be too vague to describe, even to your doctor: depression, some difficulty thinking, perhaps some digestive issues. The pain, however, you cannot deny. Although it comes and goes, it is nothing like any pain you have ever experienced. Your description of the pain, however, is not going to be enough to convince the Social Security Administration that you qualify for SSDI.

Your doctor will likely run a battery of tests, including blood work. The reports of these tests, along with statements from family and friends who know how you have suffered from your FM symptoms, will support your claim for benefits. The SSA will evaluate your documentation to determine your eligibility based on an extensive range of factors, including:

  • Have you had the symptoms for three months or longer?
  • Does medical documentation eliminate the possibility that you have another condition besides FM?
  • Do statements from you and those who know you attest to the limitations the condition places on your ability to perform routine activities?
  • Do you have 11 or more typical FM tender points on both the right and left sides, above and below your waistline?
  • Do you have at least six characteristic FM symptoms, such as fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome or anxiety?
  • Does FM prevent you from working?

Having a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is only the beginning because, unless your symptoms prevent you from doing your duties at work, you may not qualify for disability benefits.

One of your most valuable assets will be an excellent log of your experiences with FM. Keeping records of your symptoms, medical appointments, lab work and medications will benefit you when you apply for SSDI benefits. A team of doctors will evaluate your documentation carefully before arriving at a decision about your eligibility.

Another asset in your quest to obtain disability benefits may be an Alabama attorney who has years of experience assisting others in obtaining the benefits they need. An attorney can help you prepare for your application or assist you if your application is denied and you decide to appeal that decision.

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