Fibromyalgia Social Security Disability Cases

March 09,2010
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Fibromyalgia (FM) is a musculoskeletal disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to pressure. Additional symptoms run the gamut from fatigue and stiffness to irritable bowel syndrome. While fibromyalgia’s specific causes are unknown, “the FM patient experiences pain amplification due to abnormal sensory processing in the central nervous system,” according to the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. The disorder affects roughly 5% of the world population—including an estimated 10 million people in the U.S.—and is more prevalent in women, who make up anywhere from 75 to 90% of sufferers.

People who suffer from fibromyalgia and other chronic pain may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if the condition is severe enough to prevent the person from working for at least one year.

At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, our Social Security disability lawyers have helped obtain Social Security Disability benefits for hundreds of disabled individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. We have more than 50 years of combined experience representing clients in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in the claim process, and we understand the issues facing people who suffer from this debilitating and painful disorder.

In all Social Security Disability cases medical evidence is required to support the claim. Often treating physicians and physical therapists intend to be helpful, but their notes are too vague to help prove a claim of disability.

In July of 2012 the Social Security Administration issued a new Ruling (SSR 12-2p) clarifying first of all, that Fibromyalgia IS “a medically determinable impairment” as some of the Administrative Law Judges had refused to credit it, and second, issuing guidelines as to what must be in the medical records to support the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the limitations that doctors and patients claim to be results of the condition.

Though the Ruling is dense with footnotes and citations, the takeaway is that Social Security will accept the diagnosis if there are findings in accordance with either the 1990 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Criteria that talks about tender points or the more recent 2010 ACR Preliminary Diagnostic Criteria that replaces the tender points with six or more symptoms or signs and the exclusion of other potential disorders that could cause the symptoms. Widespread pain is needed for both definitions and the diagnosis must come from a doctor (not a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner) but can be supported by statements from other sources.

At Hermann Law Group, we will coordinate with your medical providers to make sure that their notes are clear and provide the level of detail you need to win your claim. Contact us toll free at 877-773-3030 for a consultation at no cost to you, or visit our website to give us your information and request that our office contact you.

In order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a person must have made sufficient payments into to Social Security system. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, on the other hand, are available to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. In order to obtain disability benefits, a person must file a claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA), the federal agency that operates the national disability and retirement benefits programs. Unfortunately, the SSA initially denies the majority of claims filed, including many with merit. A person whose claim is denied must typically request reconsideration and often a hearing before an SSA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in order to continue the process. If the claimant is unsatisfied with the ALJ’s decision, he or she may ultimately appeal in federal court.

We focus our practice exclusively on disability claims. We are not merely claimant “representatives” or “advocates.” We are licensed attorneys who can argue your claim both before an ALJ and in a federal appeal, if necessary. We proudly maintain a success rate of over 90% for all decisions received over the past twelve months. We are so confident in our abilities that in Social Security Disability cases, we will not charge you a fee unless we win your case.

At Hermann Law Group, you’ll meet with an attorney from the start. We will assist you in the Social Security disability claims process by helping to gather the evidence – medical and employment records, etc. – necessary to prove your claim, file the claim on your behalf and represent you at hearing or trial. We draw on our litigation skills and experience to pursue claims quickly and vigorously, while providing clients with the best in personalized, caring attention.

Our offices are conveniently located in New York’s Westchester and Dutchess counties as well as in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Danbury, Connecticut. Please call or contact us to set up an appointment.