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The challenges of obtaining disability for fibromyalgia

Sometimes your job requires superhuman abilities. You work unreasonable hours, sometimes never seeing the light of day. You are on your feet constantly, moving from patient to patient, following the orders of the doctors and the whims of the patients. You take no end of abuse, but your main objective is to provide compassionate care to those who are suffering. You love your job despite its downfalls.

The thought of being unable to work because of your fibromyalgia may be overwhelming, but the pace of your job as a nurse makes it impossible. The pain and confusion that are common symptoms of the condition make it difficult even to get out of bed some days. While you may want to seek help in the form of Social Security Disability, you may be weary of trying to convince someone that you are truly sick.

Common symptoms of FM

People who suffer with fibromyalgia find that it is difficult to obtain approval for disability from the Social Security Administration. The main reason is because patients themselves often report the condition instead of a doctor making a diagnosis. In fact, the list of symptoms you experience may be very different from someone else's FM complaints. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in any of the 18 tender points associated with FM, such as shoulders, knees and hips
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Confusion or memory problems
  • Digestive issues

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you have to suffer from these symptoms for at least three months. A doctor must rule out the presence of any other condition or disease that may be responsible for the symptoms. Most importantly, FM must prevent you from continuing your work, as well as interfering with other daily responsibilities. You may need to provide statements from people who can attest to the difficulties you have coping with your condition.

Evaluation and the chances of approval

Documentation is going to be important for proving your case to the SSA. Keeping a journal of your pain, days you miss work, visits to doctors and specialists, and other effects from the condition may benefit your case. In addition, you will likely need to present medical records, lab reports, and results of a psychological evaluation. A team of specialists will evaluate your application and make its determination, either to approve or deny your disability benefits.

You should be prepared for the fact that many applications for disability benefits, especially for fibromyalgia, are denied on the first try. With the thousands of dollars you could potentially spend on treatment and care for fibromyalgia, you may want to consider improving your chances of approval by seeking the advocacy of an Ohio legal professional.

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