Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to live with for many people in Ohio, as it generally manifests itself as generalized pain and tenderness in the joints and soft tissue of the human body. Because the condition itself can range from mild to severe among different individuals, as well as varying in intensity from day-to-day in the same person, determining whether it is a disabling condition for the purposes of receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be problematic. Further, as Fibromyalgia can only be diagnosed through symptomology, it may be difficult to produce hard medical evidence of the condition.
Luckily, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued some guidance with regard to how state entities administering the federal SSD program should evaluate claims based on Fibromyalgia. In a “policy interpretation ruling” published in the Federal Register, the SSA has set out conditions that can allow an evaluator to conclude that an applicant for benefits has a Medically Determinable Impairment (MDI). This ruling prescribes two basic frameworks in which a Fibromyalgia sufferer may be considered to have an MDI.
Each framework contains three conditions, two of which are the same in both frameworks. The common two conditions that need to be met are a history of widespread pain and evidence that any other disorder has been ruled out by testing or examination. The third part of the framework can be a showing that at least 11 of 18 possible tender points exist upon physical examination, or by repeated manifestation of six or more Fibromyalgia signs or symptoms.
There are some much more specific guidelines for each requirement in the policy ruling with regard to where on the body the tender points should be and what symptoms and signs are especially looked for by the “repeated manifestation” test. The important thing to remember is that Fibromyalgia, like any other physical disability, must have lasted or be expected to last for at least a year, or cause the patient’s death. Disability benefits are designed as a safety net for those whose medical conditions create an inability to work. If you have questions about Fibromyalgia or any other physical disability, and/or how to apply for benefits, then you may wish to consider contacting an experienced Ohio disability attorney.