SSDI for Fibromyalgia

Posted by sherids @sherids, Aug 9, 2016

Has anyone out there had success with filing for SSDI for Fibromyalgia? I will have my ALJ hearing this Fall 2016. I recently hired an attorney to assist me. Ever since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia my life has changed considerably. I had to leave work as an accounting assoc. 2 1/2 yrs ago. Early on in my diagnosis my dr had told me there was nothing much he could do for me other than starting me on Cymbalta & eventually prescribing Flexeril as well. I see my dr once a yr to see how things are progressing or stabilizing etc. Due to this lack of doctoring I do not have those quarterly dr notes on my health that SS would prefer. Any suggestions that would benefit e being able to explain to a Judge etc just had bad off I am & feel? Thank you!

Hi @sherids, and welcome to Connect. Receiving a life-changing diagnosis is never easy, especially when it causes disruptions such as leaving your job, but know that this community is here for you! I’m tagging @ginny1952, @bob815c, @seanbeck and @painwarrior, as they have all recently shared their experiences with SSDI and can provide insights on how you should handle the current situation.

I got an attorney before I applied for Social Security Disability and was approved my first time through. I don’t know if it was getting an attorney before I applied or that I was on SS Disability in the early 90s because of spine tumors that helped me to get approved. I applied for both physical and mental problems. They sent me to an MD and a psychiatrist before I was approved. I had also been seeing a psychiatrist for antidepressants and a therapist as well as numerous MDs (hematologist, neurosurgeon, family doctor). All I did was tell the truth. How hard everything had become for me, getting fired from my job that I had for six years, the pain, fatigue, severe depression, PTSD, I laid all on the line. I suppose it helped that I had already had six spine surgeries and 20 surgeries in all. Don’t hold anything back. If talking about it makes you cry, then cry. I did. And it wasn’t to get approved; it was just that hard to talk about. Just be honest with them. If I can be of any help, please reach out.

Thank you for your story! I wish you well with all you have going on.

Fibromyalgia totally sucks; I got it in 2000 after being rear-ended by a guy who just wasn’t watching. From what you’ve told us, chances are SSDI will want to see some sort of medical evaluation since you’re only being followed once a year. I don’t know if it’s to your advantage to set something up with YOUR choice of doctor(s) versus waiting till THEY do. It’s hard to even figure things out when you’re tired and in pain-I think having a lawyer to help is a very good idea!

My only experience with SSDI was for my son (adopted from Russia with fetal alcohol exposure, which isn’t on the list yet) who has multiple potentially qualifying problems. They said that while working might be difficult for him, there were surely some jobs he could do (in so many words.) We would have had to show that it was out of the question for him to show up on time, focus for at least a few hours, etc. He’s now in an audio engineering apprenticeship program-turns out that once he went through rehab and sobered up he could work a lot harder!

My understanding is that they finally decided FM was disabling-duh-but it’s still hard to prove. I haven’t filed because my spouse makes a good enough income to support us both and I don’t think I have recent enough work experience to qualify, not having worked since said kid with FASD arrived. Keep working on this, and remember your value as a person does NOT depend on whatever the government thinks!

I was able to secure SSDI for three conditions, one of which was fibromyalgia. I used a non-attorney representative. I first filed in April 2014 and was denied, we appealed and my hearing was finally in late November 2015. A month later, I received the approval letter. Based on talking to my rep and from what I gleaned during my hearing, things that went against me: my age (40s, which is young) and my level of education and former job (BA degree and worked in the tech world; I ranked the same level as a disability judge). Things that were positives: 1. I chose to leave my full-time job making a substantial salary to attempt to work freelance, which means I took a major pay cut but still tried to work… as I became more and more ill, it was harder for me to work, so eventually I stopped working completely. All of this happened over the span of a few years, but the important thing is that it showed that I tried. 2. Having four or more doctor appointments per month. 3. I saw a psychologist regularly who submitted a letter that basically said that I was sincerely ill and not faking it. 4. I submitted a VERY supportive letter from my primary care physician. In this letter, he made it clear that I was adhering to the instructions of all of my specialist physicians and very diligent with follow-up appointments, and that I actually wanted to work but just couldn’t. 5. Being on a lot of medications. 6. Keeping a journal of my pain, headaches, doctor appointments, etc.

I was even approved after the SSDI MD they sent me to stated that I wasn’t sick enough to qualify. The judge valued the information from my medical records, my PCP, and my psychologist with great regard and even stated in his determination letter that he disagreed with the SSDI MD.

With all of this said, every disability judge is different. Just be sure when you go in to be sincere and honest.

Wishing you the best of luck.

@kdubois Congratulations on persevering and receiving benefits. You also provided some wonderful guidance for others who are seeking benefits. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure it will help a lot of people!


@kdubois Congratulations on persevering and receiving benefits. You also provided some wonderful guidance for others who are seeking benefits. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure it will help a lot of people!

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I hope it does!

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