Disability Audio is a regularly updated podcast that provides information about the Social Security Disability and SSI disability benefit system. It is produced by former Disability Claims Examiner Tim Moore, who previously worked for the Social Security Administration’s “DDS”, or Disability Determination Services agency.
More resources on the Social Security Disability Resource Page.
Description of this podcast segment:
This segment addresses the topic of filing for disability on the basis of fibromyalgia and one particular symptom of fibromyalgia, fibrofog. Applying for disability on the basis of fibromyalgia and related symptoms is complicated by the fact that the condition, a syndrome, is still not completely understood. In fact, in past years many doctors failed to recognize this condition as a valid one. This situation may be changing, finally, due to the fact that medications are now being prescribed for the specific treatment of fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, the fact that there is no clear etiology for fibromyalgia makes winning a disability approval on the basis of the condition potentially more difficult. How so? Pain and fatigue are hallmarks of this medical condition, yet pain and fatigue are symptoms that many doctors fail to cite in sufficient detail in their own treatment notes. This presents a liability for a fibromyalgia case since eligibility for social security disability and SSI disability is based completely on functional limitations, as indicated in a treating physician’s medical records. And this lack of detail regarding functional limitations carries over when a disability examiner or a disability examiner’s unit medical consultant (the doctor who actually works in the same disability case processing unit as the examiner) reviews the claimant’s medical records. Additionally, claimants who are sent for consultative medical exams for a social security disability or SSI case will typically find that the results of the exam are practically useless since such exams are typically scheduled for no other purpose than to obtain “recent medical evidence” in situations where a claimant has not been to a doctor in the last 90 days. Is is possible to win a disability case in which fibromyalgia is a chief allegation? Yes, and it happens all the time. However, it is certainly true that a fibromyalgia case may appear less clearcut than many other types of claims. For this reason, it is even more important for a claimant to receive treatment from a medical source that understands fibromyalgia, and, better yet, is viewed by social security adjudicators as a specialist in the treatment of pain and fatigue.