Like many who suffer from the symptoms of fibromyalgia, you have probably heard more than once that it is all in your head. In fact, your own doctor may have suggested this while writing you yet another prescription for pain medication or anxiety.
When others dismiss your symptoms, it can be discouraging. Fibromyalgia is a real disorder, but few people, including many in the medical community, understand it. Nevertheless, it can be debilitating. If your symptoms prevent you from working, you may wonder about your chances of qualifying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Helping your cause
While the SSA does list some conditions that they will automatically approve for benefits, fibromyalgia is not one of them. This does not mean you will not qualify if your condition is not on the list. More important than having an eligible condition is whether your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from obtaining and maintaining gainful employment. You can improve your chances of approval for disability benefits if you take the following steps:
- Seek a diagnosis from a specialist, such as a rheumatologist or orthopedist, who is familiar with fibromyalgia and related conditions.
- Include on your application any overlapping conditions you may have, such as degenerative disk disease or arthritis.
- Gather your medical records for any doctor appointments, hospital visits or treatments that relate to your condition.
- Carefully review your medical records to make sure they contain a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and that there is no conflicting information that could damage your claim for benefits.
- If your medical records do not have an accurate diagnosis, contact your doctor’s office to see if they can add it.
- Carefully complete all the forms the SSA requires and submit them in the most convenient way for you, either online or in person at the closest Alabama SSA office.
You always have the option of seeking assistance from an attorney to help you gather the documents you need and complete your application. Having to prove once again that your medical condition is valid and disabling may seem like an overwhelming task. You may be aware that many first-time applicants for disability benefits are not successful. However, if you have on your side a skilled legal advocate who has experience fighting for the financial support of many in Alabama, your chances of reaching your goals may greatly improve.