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Question: I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia, can I still receive Social Security Disability benefits?

Answer: Yes. However, because these conditions generally lack “objective” evidence via MRI, X-Ray, or blood tests, claimants with these diagnoses often find they have difficulty winning Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability

The process of applying for and winning SSD benefits for claimants with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia is the same as those with other conditions. Claimants are required to prove that they are unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) because of their medical condition, and that their condition has lasted or will last for at least a year.

Claimants should work closely with their doctors to gather evidence of their impairment. Evidence should include the severity and duration of your impairments and should specifically describe your inability to perform work-like activities and other daily activities.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Social Security Disability

SSA publicized rules regarding its evaluation of claimants with chronic fatigue syndrome. Specifically, SSA looks for the following evidence:

  • Palpably swollen or tender lymph nodes on physical examination;
  • Nonexudative pharyngitis;
  • Persistent, reproducible muscle tenderness on repeated examinations, including the presence of positive tender points;[3] or,
  • Any other medical signs that are consistent with medically accepted clinical practice and are consistent with the other evidence in the case record.

Fibromyalgia and Social Security Disability

In regards to fibromyalgia, SSA looks for evidence of impairment including:

  • A history of widespread body pain for at least three months;
  • At least 11 positive bilateral tender points upon physical examination; or
  • Evidence that other diagnoses and conditions were excluded.

If your condition meets these criteria, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits.

At Andalman & Flynn, our experienced disability attorneys in Maryland provide legal representation to those in need of Social Security Disability, as well as other disability insurance and retirement benefits. If we can be of assistance to you regarding disability benefits, please call us at (301) 244-4525 or toll-free at (888) 558-7871. You can also complete an online contact form on our website and one of our disability attorneys will contact you to schedule a consultation concerning your situation.

We have significant experience representing clients seeking disability benefits. For more information and how you may be impacted, contact one of our Disability Benefits attorneys, Elliott Andalman and  Peter Casciano.