Our Adept Louisiana Social Security Disability Lawyer Helps Clients With Fibromyalgia Apply for SSDI and Advocate for the Benefits They Deserve 

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be challenging, especially for “invisible” illnesses like fibromyalgia. The Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t include fibromyalgia in its Blue Book, a medical guide that lists qualifying conditions and approval criteria. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t qualify for SSDI benefits.

Understanding how to navigate the Social Security disability application process is crucial for people living with severe fibromyalgia that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA).

At Phillip M. Hendry Law, our dedicated Social Security disability lawyer guides clients through each step of the application, offering skilled counsel and compassionate support. Discover how working with a skilled attorney could increase your chances of approval.

Fibromyalgia and How it Affects Daily Life

Fibromyalgia is a central pain processing disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties, often referred to as “fibro fog.” These symptoms can severely impact your ability to perform daily tasks, let alone maintain substantial gainful employment. 

Fibromyalgia symptoms can wax and wane. Some days, you might feel capable of working, while on other days, you’re bedridden. These inconsistent and unpredictable symptoms can make it challenging, if not impossible, to hold a regular job—a critical point when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Here’s what you should know about the SSDI application process and the vital role medical evidence and adept legal assistance can play in helping you get approved for benefits.

Exploring Your SSDI Eligibility 

Qualifying for SSDI requires meeting both medical and non-medical eligibility requirements. Non-medical requirements include working and paying into Social Security long enough to amass sufficient credits. The number of credits required varies depending on your age, but typically, SSDI applicants need 40 work credits, 20 of which were earned in the 10 years before disability onset.

Medically, you must prove that your fibromyalgia significantly limits your ability to perform basic work activities and that it has lasted or doctors anticipate that it will last at least 12 months or result in death. 

The SSA looks at your earnings to determine your work activity level. For you to qualify, your fibromyalgia must be severe enough to prevent substantial gainful activity (SGA). The SGA earnings threshold changes annually to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index. In 2024, most applicants could earn up to $1,550 and still qualify, while the SGA for blind applicants is $2,590.

“Equaling” a Listing to Qualify for SSDI 

Applicants can qualify for SSDI by “meeting” or “equaling” a Blue Book listing. The SSA Blue Book is a medical guide that lists impairments that qualify for benefits, provided you can meet the specific approval criteria. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia doesn’t appear in the Blue Book, but that doesn’t mean you can’t receive SSDI. Instead of “meeting” a listing, you can “equal” a listing by proving that your condition is as severe as a qualifying impairment. This means demonstrating that your symptoms are equally severe to those of a Blue Book-listed condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis. 

Examining the Importance of Comprehensive Medical Evidence to Your SSDI Claim for Fibromyalgia

When applying for SSDI for fibromyalgia and attempting to equal a listing, comprehensive medical evidence is crucial. Medical records are the backbone of your SSDI application. The SSA requires detailed documentation from acceptable medical sources (AMS) such as licensed physicians, psychologists, and certain specialists. Helpful evidence can include:

  • Diagnosis. A fibromyalgia diagnosis, provided by a rheumatologist or primary care physician, and extensive notes from your treating physician.
  • Treatment history. Records of ongoing treatment, including medications, physical therapy, and other interventions. Consistent documentation of symptoms over time helps establish the condition’s chronic nature.
  • Functional limitations. Detailed reports on how fibromyalgia affects your daily life and ability to work, often documented through a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.

Navigating the SSDI Process With the Help of Our Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney 

The SSDI application process can be overwhelming, particularly when you’re already struggling with the physical and mental toll of fibromyalgia. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Phillip Hendry can help you complete your application accurately, gather and organize vital medical records, and advocate for you at every step. Phillip Hendry Law knows the process inside and out and can help you avoid common errors that lead to denials.