Fibromyalgia why is it so hard to get SSDI benefits?
Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I have recently been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It has been a long and difficult journey. I have tried to work for months, but find I am unable to perform full-time work. I have thought about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but I have heard that getting benefits for fibromyalgia is almost impossible. Why is it so hard to get the benefits I need?
Difficulties getting SSDI benefits for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is an unusual condition which is difficult to diagnose, and unlike other health conditions which have standards symptoms, fibromyalgia can cause unusual symptoms which vary from patient to patient.
For example, according WebMD, common symptoms caused by fibromyalgia can include any of the following:
Lack of concentration
Irritable bowel syndrome
Painful menstrual cramps
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency
What is SSDI and who can qualify for benefits?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which is expected to last 12 continuous months and which does not allow claimants to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).
Although some of the symptoms listed above may be quite severe for patients suffering from fibromyalgia, there are several reasons that winning benefits may be tough.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose
Fibromyalgia is an unusual condition which is difficult to diagnose. In fact, even for doctors who are familiar with the condition a diagnosis can take time, often requiring doctors to rule out other similar conditions and order multiple tests to confirm the diagnosis. Finally, because other conditions often occur with fibromyalgia it can confuse the diagnosis.
Symptoms may come and go
Fibromyalgia symptoms can be severe, and unlike conditions such as joint pain or osteoarthritis, the pain can be felt all over the entire body and can come and go. Some days claimants may feel fine and feel like they can perform work. Other days, however, the sharp, dull, throbbing pain may make it impossible to work.
Not all patients experience the same symptoms
Another common issue with diagnosing fibromyalgia is that the symptoms may exhibit themselves differently in each patient. Some patients may experience widespread pain, others may have extreme, nonstop exhaustion, and still others may have tenderness, inability to concentrate or difficulty sleeping.
What does the SSDI say about winning benefits for fibromyalgia?
In 2012, the SSA issued information about how fibromyalgia could be identified as a medically determinable impairment. Under this ruling, the SSA states that a patient must have chronic widespread pain, other diseases must have been ruled out, and they must have tender points in at least 11 of 18 tender point areas of the body, with tender points occurring on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist or repeated occurrences of six or more fibromyalgia symptoms.
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