Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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