Saturday, May 10, 2008

Social Security Disability and Fibro Fog

As I stated in a recent post, I came across a forum conversation involving a disability claimant. This same individual commented that he had been diagnosed with cognitive memory disorder, or fibro fog, and that he had learned of another individual being approved due to fibro fog. All of this made me think of two questions that fibromyalgia patients who are filing for disability might possibly have.

1. Can you be approved for disability on the basis of fibro fog? Answer: an applicant for disability benefits can potentially be approved on the basis of any condition, and that can include fibromyalgia or cognitive memory disorder. This is simply because SSA is focused on A) a claimant's functional limitations that result from their medical condition and B) how their functional limitations impact and limit their ability to perform past work or "other work".

2. Is it more difficult to win a case for which the major allegation is fibromyalgia? It certainly can be. But let me say this. Any case for which the medical records are clear in asserting that a patient's functional limitations rule out the ability to engage in competitive employment within the national econonmy will be approved. However...most physician's notes are not focused with regard to illustrating functional limitations (known as RFC, or residual functional capacity).

In fact, many doctors make little to no reference to functionality in their treatment notes. Considering that this is the case, think how much more difficult it can be for FMS patients. For one thing, they have a disorder for which the causation is unclear. Secondly, many practicing physicians still retain a bias toward acknowleding fibromyalgia (not surprising--at one point in time the medical community disputed the existence of rheumatoid arthritis).

For additional information on the disability process and how social security views fibromyalgia, you may wish to view the following page on

Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can I get a free set of RFC forms to assist me win my SSD and SSI disability claim? Your link does not work on disability secrets tip 13.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

If you go to the home page of and scroll to the bottom of the page, you'll see links to download the RFC forms.

8:44 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Lisa said...

When I worked as a mental health counselor I wrote many narratives for the disability process and you are correct, physicians use diagnoses that match the insurance codes for billing. They have nothing to do with functionality. I am now a chiropractor and still write the same narratives. Will an occupational therapist's consult be another avenue for those applying for disability? I suppose it needs a referral or the patient can argue it is a second opinion.

More Fibro News

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found it to be important to discuss with my physician that I had applied for Social Security Disability and discussed with her my basis and that led to discussion of functionability.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

I've said the same thing myself. It's not a bad piece of advice for someone who would like to get support from their treating physician. At the very least, you can gauge how your doctor stands on the issue.

1:38 PM  

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