Is Fibromyalgia a Disability?

by Calvin on March 10, 2023

Fibromyalgia is considered a disability, and with sufficient proof of incapacity to work, a person with this condition may file for Social Security disability benefits. A lot of people who have fibromyalgia keep working full or part-time. However, fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain and fatigue, which makes it difficult to stay employed. In this article, we’ll be taking an in-depth look into this disabling condition.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is marked by severe musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep, cognitive, and mood problems. Research shows that fibromyalgia may heighten pain because of changes in how your brain interprets painful and non-painful impulses.

Many symptoms appear after an initial stressful event or traumatic experience. Sometimes, they develop slowly rather than being brought on by a single incident.

Although fibromyalgia can’t be cured, doctors and other medical professionals can help alleviate its symptoms. Medications, psychotherapy, other forms of mental health care, and physical activity are frequently used together during treatment.

What Are the Effects of Fibromyalgia on a Person’s Health and Ability to Work?

Fibromyalgia symptoms, such as pain, exhaustion, and poor sleep quality, can make it difficult to carry out daily tasks at home or work. Moreover, having a disabling, misunderstood condition can be frustrating, leading to health-related anxiety and depression.

Workplace options are seriously limited by hypersensitivity to sound, light, temperature fluctuations, and smells. As a result of the chronic pain, those with fibromyalgia may find it difficult to sit or stand for extended periods. Their strength in lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and grasping can all be negatively impacted. When paired with the psychological and neurological repercussions of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue can make it nearly impossible to concentrate for long periods.

Does Fibromyalgia Qualify as a Disability Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Their strength in lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, and grasping can all be negatively impacted. When paired with the psychological and neurological repercussions of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue can make it nearly impossible to concentrate for long periods.

A doctor’s note and medical records are required to back up a claim, as symptoms are typically self-recorded. Nonetheless, a valid fibromyalgia claim is achievable. Here are some of the requirements to be classified as disabled by the ADA:

  • Be severely limited in one or more essential life activities due to a mental or physical impairment.
  • Have proof of impairment, like medical records or a note from a doctor.
  • Be considered to have such a disability.

How Does the Progression of Fibromyalgia Affect Your Disability Benefits?

If you’ve tried to work while having fibromyalgia symptoms but haven’t been able to because of the pain and fatigue, you might want to file for Social Security disability benefits. However, even if you’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, that doesn’t mean you’re eligible. You’ll need proof that you can’t keep stable employment because of the musculoskeletal disorder’s symptoms. The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) medical review board will consider all your symptoms, even the more typical ones like pain and exhaustion.

Can Fibromyalgia Patients Receive Disability Benefits?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are available to those disabled due to fibromyalgia. You need to satisfy the SSA’s work credit requirement and the medical requirements for fibromyalgia before you may apply for SSDI and qualify. The required work credits are based on your age when you became disabled due to fibromyalgia. On the other hand, to apply for SSI disability, you must fit the medical criteria for fibromyalgia and have limited income and assets, as defined by the Social Security Administration.

What Are the Criteria for Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) For Fibromyalgia Patients?

The Social Security Administration is in charge of reviewing disability claims. To obtain SSDI benefits for fibromyalgia, a patient must provide documentation that this condition meets the criteria for being a “medically determinable impairment” under SSA rules and the rules for fibromyalgia SSDI claims.

The SSA will often look at the patient’s medical history and doctor’s assessments of fibromyalgia going back at least a year. In addition, they may request information from other medical and mental health experts and non-medical sources, such as former employers and neighbors, to verify the legitimacy of the social security disability claim. For instance, the employer might have to prove that the patient has missed considerable time at work due to their symptoms.

What Support and Resources Are Available for Fibromyalgia Patients With Disabilities?

People who want to learn more about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and how they could be accommodated in the workplace should contact the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Here are a few more resources for learning more about fibromyalgia:

Can Fibromyalgia Patients Continue to Work While Receiving Benefits?

According to Social Security’s disability regulations, being disabled means being unable to work in a job that would provide adequate sustenance because of physical or mental incapacity. Furthermore, a patient’s health must prevent them from performing even the most basic tasks. If not, their social security disability claim will be rejected. Many people with fibromyalgia fall into this category because of their extreme difficulty with manual duties like walking, standing, lifting, bending, and focusing.

What Are the Legal Protections for Fibromyalgia Patients in the Workplace?

Anyone considered to have a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act is guaranteed equal employment opportunities. However, their employer must provide them with reasonable accommodations so that they can continue working. This may involve providing the person living with fibromyalgia with longer breaks, reduced workdays (with appropriate compensation), or a more accommodating work environment.

A person living with fibromyalgia who seeks reasonable accommodation from their workplace and is rejected may have grounds to pursue legal action at the state and federal levels due to unlawful disability-based discrimination. In addition, companies can’t turn down applicants or fire employees only because of their disability. Patients can consult a social security disability lawyer for more tips to win disability.