Injured workers in Ohio often find themselves struggling to acquire disability benefits. The Social Security Administration receives thousands of applications for Social Security Disability from people who have sustained injuries or have conditions that have left them unable to work. Many diseases and conditions are recognized by the SSA as worthy of disability benefits and one of the most recently added ones is fibromyalgia.
Interestingly, fibromyalgia is often considered a catch-all diagnosis with symptoms that can be rather vague. Fibromyalgia often causes aches and pains in areas of a person’s body-these symptoms are hard to prove but people do suffer from them. However, a condition that does not possess symptoms that can be medically proven is hard to consider as a disability provider-whether as an insurer or the SSA. This is because this makes the condition easy to emulate.
One woman diagnosed with fibromyalgia became a victim of this issue. The woman applied for short-term disability benefits from her health insurance provider but was swiftly denied. She plans to appeal the decision-which was made in October-because she needs income or else she will be forced to return to work. She has already exhausted her FMLA benefits, which allowed her to take 12 weeks off work for her condition without concern for her employment.
Returning to work could mean two things: She experiences more pain due to her fibromyalgia and the regular use of areas where she is in pain and she takes time off work without FMLA coverage due to her condition, potentially putting her job at risk. Luckily, the SSA recently acknowledged fibromyalgia as a legitimate reason for disability benefits, but the process to receive them still takes a considerable amount of time. Currently, she is awaiting the agency’s decision.
Experts believe that health insurance providers will follow suit soon enough, meaning that this woman’s denial may become a thing of the past.
Source: Lawyers and Settlements, “Denied Disability: Social Security Recognizes Fibromyalgia,” Jane Mundy, Jan. 5, 2013