chronic fatigue

Our Dedicated Louisiana Social Security Disability Lawyer Explains Why Objective Medical Evidence Is Key to SSDI Approval for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a strict definition of disability and a complicated application procedure, resulting in most SSDI applicants receiving a denial during the initial stages of the evaluation process. Obtaining SSDI approval can be particularly challenging when you’re living with an “invisible” illness like chronic fatigue syndrome, but it’s not impossible. The SSA has special criteria for evaluating cases involving this condition, and medical evidence is key to unlocking the SSDI benefits you deserve.

At Phillip M. Hendry Law, our adept Louisiana Social Security disability attorney helps clients with chronic fatigue syndrome gather the appropriate evidence, complete their application, and navigate the SSDI process, increasing their chances of approval.

Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome, is a complex and long-lasting illness characterized by wide-ranging symptoms such as cognitive issues, sleep disturbances, autonomic dysfunction, widespread muscle and joint pain, and severe fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest. These symptoms can substantially impact every aspect of life, from your personal relationships to your ability to hold a job and engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). Though you might not look sick, physical or mental exertion could leave you bedridden for days. Sadly, without a definitive diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome, it can be difficult to get the SSA—and even some doctors—to treat your condition seriously.

As a longtime Social Security disability lawyer, Phillip Hendry understands the toll that chronic fatigue syndrome takes on individuals and their families. He works diligently to help clients confirm their eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and amass the medical evidence the SSA needs to approve you for benefits.

Exploring Your Eligibility for SSDI

You could be eligible for SSDI if:

  • You’ve worked in jobs covered by Social Security long enough to earn sufficient work credits. Applicants typically need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the 10 years before disability onset, though younger claimants may qualify with fewer credits.
  • Your chronic fatigue syndrome is severe enough to prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). In 2024, most applicants could earn up to $1,550 per month—$2,590 for blind applicants—and still qualify.
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

SSDI applicants must meet both medical and non-medical eligibility requirements to qualify for approval.

Proving Your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Qualifies You for SSDI Benefits

Self-reported symptoms aren’t enough to qualify you for SSDI; you must establish the existence of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (MDI) that meets the SSA’s severity and duration requirements. Accomplishing this requires objective medical evidence from acceptable medical sources (AMS) such as licensed medical or osteopathic doctors. Though myalgic encephalomyelitis isn’t included in the SSA Blue Book, the medical guide listing qualifying conditions and criteria for approval, the agency will consider chronic fatigue an MDI when it lasts six months or longer and is accompanied by one or more of the following medical signs and laboratory findings:

  • Palpably swollen or tender lymph nodes 
  • Nonexudative pharyngitis (sore throat without mucus)
  • Persistent, reproducible muscle tenderness on repeated examinations, including the presence of positive tender points 
  • Frequent viral infections with prolonged recovery
  • Sinusitis
  • Ataxia (poor muscle control causing balance and coordination issues)
  • Extremely pale skin
  • Significant weight gain or loss.

How Getting Help With Your SSDI Application Could Increase Your Chances for Approval

Getting approved for SSDI can be difficult for any applicant, but it can be particularly challenging for those applying for benefits based solely on chronic fatigue syndrome. However, this illness frequently occurs with other conditions. Working with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you navigate the application process and ensure you include sufficient medical evidence for all ailments affecting your ability to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA), increasing your chances for approval.