Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Can you qualify for Social Security Disability on the basis of fibromyalgia?

Here is the short version of the answer. Yes, you can qualify for disability based on fibromyalgia. But, truthfully, you can qualify for disability benefits on the basis of nearly any physical or mental medical impairment, or combination of impairments.

The social security administration evaluates all claims in either the social security disability or SSI disability program on the basis of residual functional capacity. RFC is what you can still do despite your condition or conditions. Your residual functional capacity is determined by evaluating your medical record documentation, which includes records from individual doctors and hospitals (and, in the case of children, school records as well).

Once your RFC is rated, the disability system compares this (what you can still do and, conversely, what you can no longer do) to the requirements of your past relevant work. If your current condition is severe enough to preclude the possibility of returning to any of your former jobs that are considered to be past relevant work (jobs you did for a minimum period of time within the last 15 years prior to become disabled), may be considered. I say "may" because you still have to pass one other hurdle. And that hurdle is something known as other work.

Other work is a fuzzy concept for most, but it can include quite a few jobs that you might be capable of transitioning to based on your current limitations, education, and work skills. The more education you have and the greater your work skills (higher skill levels make skills more transferable), the more likely it will be that an adjudicator will determine that you can perform some type of other work, even if your condition is severe enough that you can't go back to one of your old jobs.

Back to the question, however: can you qualify for disability on the basis of fibromyalgia? Yes. But it all comes down to the limitations indicated in your medical record documentation.

It goes without saying, of course, that most medical records contain sparse information as to a patient's functionality. In other words, for the purposes of achieving a favorable disability determination, they are sometimes (often) next to useless. This is why a medical source statement (or residual functional capacity, or RFC, form) that captures the opinion of a treating physician can be so helpful to a case.

Disability examiners, however, are not directed to obtain such statements from physicians who have an established treatment history with their patients (which is mystifying...but not so mystifying if you consider that the federal disability system has an inherent oppositional stance toward claimants).

Disability representatives and disability attorneys, on the other hand, tend to submit such statements at hearings. And this fact along goes a long way toward explaining the disconnect between approval rates at the lower levels (disability application and request for hearing) versus the disability hearing level...that and the fact that administrative law judges receive and entertain such qualified information (the opinion of the treating physician) in a different context and with a different attitude.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work

    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

    Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    The SSDRC Disability Blog

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Getting disability in North Carolina

    Related pages:

    Do You Qualify For SSDI Benefits from SSA? (Social Security Disability Insurance)
    Is qualifying for SSI different than SSD?
    Can You Qualify for Disability if you did not work much?
    What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?
    How does SSA determine if a claim will be a denial or an approval?
    Do you have to quit your job before filing for disability?
    Can you qualify for Social Security Disability on the basis of fibromyalgia?
    What are the requirements and criteria for social security disability?
    Can you get disability if you are younger age?
    Disability at age 50 or older
    Social Security Disability SSI and proving you can't work
    How Residual Functional Capacity affects Social Security Disability and SSI claims
    If I am waiting for a Disability Hearing, how often should I see my doctor?
    Calling Social Security about a Disability Exam that was scheduled
    How does social security decide your disability claim?

    Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

    These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

    How to file for disability, filing tips
    What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
    Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
    What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
    Will you get disability back pay?
    Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
    Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
    Social Security Disability SSI status
    Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
    Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
    Qualifications for Disability Benefits
    Important points about filing for disability
    How long does it take to get disability after applying?
    Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
    Who is eligible for SSI disability?
    How to get disability in Florida