Can I obtain VA disability benefits for fibromyalgia?
Yes, VA disability benefits for fibromyalgia may be available.
You will need to prove that (a) you were in the military, (b) your fibromyalgia originated or was aggravated while you were on active duty, (c) you were continuously treated for your fibromyalgia since leaving the service (unless you are filing your disability claim within one year of leaving the service or your condition has been chronic), and (d) you are currently disabled by your fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia, also known as fibrositis and fibromyositis, is an impairment characterized by a lack of objective findings. Its cause is unknown, there is no cure, and the symptoms are subjective.
Notwithstanding the lack of objective findings, fibromyalgia can have a devastating impact on your ability to work.
Fibromyalgia is defined by the American College of Rheumatology as “widespread pain in all four quadrants of the body for a minimum duration of 3 months and at least 11 of the 18 specified tender points which cluster around the neck and shoulder, chest, hip, knee, and elbow regions.”
Other typical symptoms are irritable bowel syndrome, chronic headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, sleep disorder, severe fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction.
Generally, to establish fibromyalgia as a medically-determinable impairment, you must show:
- Widespread pain for at least three months
- Pain on palpation in at least 11 of the 18 tender point sites
- Morning stiffness or stiffness after sitting for a short period of time
Other typical symptoms that could limit you functional capacity include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic headaches
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
- Sleep disorder
- Severe fatigue
- Cognitive dysfunction