How to Get Tested

Artwork: Zeraph Dylan Moore

It will help your application a great deal if you can have at least one piece of “objective medical evidence”.

Objective medical evidence is something that shows your illness exists in the world.

Your evidence can be a lab test, or it can be a medical sign, something that your doctor observes while examining you.

Here’s some ideas for how to get this kind of evidence:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Take a look here: Tests and Evidence for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


The Social Security Ruling on Fibromyalgia includes a description of specific outcomes on a tender point test. Ideally this would be performed by a rheumatologist or orthopedist, but any MD or any doctor who is an acceptable medical source can perform this test. One way to show the outcome of this test is to get a Special RFC form for fibromyalgiaIf you have other symptoms or conditions, many of the tests listed below could also help your case. Some people have had good experiences with the FM/a test.


There are no rulings or listings for Lyme Disease. Any of the tests below or any other test given to you by an acceptable medical source may be helpful in documenting Lyme and related conditions.

Examples of tests & medical evidence

These are types of tests that have been successful for other people with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, Toxic Mold exposure and related conditions. If you have experience with these tests, or know of other tests that could be added to this list, please comment below:

  • Bloodwork
  • exercise stress tests
  • sleep studies
  • ultrasounds
  • MRI scans of the brain
  • PET scans of the brain.
  • EEG/QEEG brain maps.
  • The Romberg test
  • Immune system tests
  • neurological testing
  • neuro-psychological testing
  • x-rays showing joint inflammation
  • x-rays – other
  • nerve testing for neuropathy
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • one-day CPETs
  • two-day CPETs (warning: health risk)
  • NASA Lean Test (if performed by an acceptable medical source)
  • psychiatric evaluations
  • Neuroquant
  • evaluations by rehabilitation doctors
  • evaluations by occupational medicine doctors
  • tests given by an infectious disease specialist
  • tests given by a doctor who specializes in CFS/ME
  • tender point tests
  • Physical exam showing any kind of Medical signs

Mental Illness

Many people with mental illness do not get special tests. They are approved based on records from their psychiatrist, psychologist and/or psychiatric hospital records. Some people get special psychiatric testing. Speak with your doctor or lawyer to see if they can refer you. These tests may not be covered by insurance.

Other Illnesses

You can talk to your doctor about what types of testing are common for your condition. Here is a link to the rather confusing Social Security Blue Book. You may be able to find your condition somewhere in there. Good luck!

How many tests do I need? How do I know if my test results are “good enough”? Will my tests “prove” to Social Security that I am sick?

A lot of people ask me these questions, and they are tricky questions to answer. The truth is, you can’t get on disability by proving that you are sick. You can only getting on by proving that your illness is so severe that it keeps you from being able to work or function. In most cases it is not necessary or helpful to spend a lot of energy and money getting a million tests. Learn more about how to make sure your tests are “good enough”

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