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Study: Just over a third of fibromyalgia patients get SSD benefits

Some illnesses are fairly easy to diagnose, such as cancer. Depending on the type of cancer and where in the body it is located, doctors can often perform relatively non-invasive tests to confirm a diagnosis.

But there are also illnesses which are much harder to diagnose. One prominent example is fibromyalgia. The disease is often characterized by constant fatigue and chronic pain in one’s tendons, muscles and ligaments. Unfortunately, the symptoms are very real and can be debilitating, but medical evidence is often hard to come by with fibromyalgia. Many symptoms are self-reported by patients and the disease cannot be confirmed by a blood test.

For this reason, individuals suffering from fibromyalgia may be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to qualifying for Social Security disability benefits. A recent study found that among 2,321 patients with physician-diagnosed fibromyalgia, just over one-third received SSD benefits. Over the course of the study, which lasted several years, just 34.8 percent of fibromyalgia patients received benefits for SSD.

Researchers also found that one of the best predictors of whether or not patients would receive SSD was their functional status. This was measured on the polysymptomatic distress index.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, qualifying for SSD is often a difficult process. In addition to experiencing denial of benefits, it is also common for fibromyalgia patients to only receive benefits for a limited duration (especially if the illness is self-reported) and to have their benefits suddenly terminated.

An experienced Social Security disability attorney understands how difficult the process can be with an illness like fibromyalgia. As such, you may wish to seek the help of an SSD attorney rather than trying to navigate this complex process alone.

Source: Pro Health, "Prevalence of Social Security Disability in Fibromyalgia Patients," Feb. 13, 2014

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