Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fibromyalgia, Judge's Perceptions and the resulting impact on Claimant Credibility

The mere diagnosis of fibromyalgia is sometimes dubious to disability judges. The pain disorder has no concrete cause, nor is there an expected course for fibromyalgia. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that both physicians and disability representatives find this to be a difficult and contentious diagnosis from both a medical and advocacy-litigation standpoint.

In a recent Canadian study, disability judges’ perceptions of one hundred and ninety four fibromyalgia disability hearings were analyzed. The findings of the 2003 study are as follows:

The claimant’s role was key to issues such as fraud, malingering, failure to comply with treatment, and failure to reveal all pertinent information. If a judge perceived that any of these issues were present, there was a higher chance of a denial being issued for a claim.

The study seemed to indicate that disability claimant’s actions or any investigative/surveillance information did not seem to affect the disability decision if these issues were not involved.

Credible information did, however, have a significant effect upon the monetary award and, judges seemed to give more weight to the testimony of experts vs. the testimony of claimants.

Although the Canadian study was based on judges’ perceptions in trial-by-judge cases within the Canadian judicial system, administrative law judges in the United States are dealing with the same issues with regard to disability claims based upon fibromyalgia. Administrative law judges consider credibility to be one of the main issues of a fibromyalgia disability claim, and administrative law judges often give far more weight to the testimony of experts than the testimony of claimants.

Return to the homepage for the Social Security Disability SSI Blog

Will you be able to collect Social Security Disability if your disability insurance paid you benefits?
A recent FCW article
A recent FCW article, part 2
Social Security Disability and Conspiracy Theorists
The downward slide for Newspapers
Who is eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI Disability?
Social Security Disability and Giving Up on an SSD or SSI Claim
Understanding Social Security Disability
How to lose a social security disability claim
Total Disability - What does this mean for social security disability
From a Former Social Security Claims Rep (CR)
A company that provides representation on social security disability claims
A Common Social Security Disability Complaint - Getting through on the phone line
I was denied the second time for Social Security Disability
How long to get a Decision from an ALJ (for Social Security Disability or SSI)
Social Security Disability Attorney Fees
Job limitations caused by Arthritis
Second Disability Appeal - What makes it different from the First?
Social Security Disability and Physicians
Approved by a Disability Judge - the odds
How much SS back pay do you get?
Things to Watch Out for When Using A Disability Lawyer
Social Security Disability and Financial Problems
Driving Social Security into the Ground
Social Security Disability and Incorrect Information
South Carolina Social Security Disability Attorney Offers Advice for Claimants
Fibromyalgia, Judge's Perceptions and the resulting impact on Claimant Credibility
Waiting for Social Security disability to be approved can be crushing
South Carolina Disability Lawyer discusses the value of a Questionaire from a Treating Physician
A Warning to Disability Attorneys Seeking to Promote their Sites