How to Win Long Term Disability for ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Welcome. This article is about Long Term Disability, also known as LTD. LTD is private disability offered through your employer’s insurance. If your goal is to apply for Social Security, take a look here instead: Social Security Disability for ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Applying for Long Term Disability

It is definitely possible to get approved for Long Term Disability for a chronic pain or chronic fatigue conditions, and many people have done it. However, it does not always happen quickly or easily.

Applying Someday

If you are still working now, but plan to apply soon, or think you might apply some time in the future, please make sure to take a look at: How to Protect Yourself if You Might Apply in the Future

Applying Right Now

LTD companies can be tricky! It will help you a lot to learn your rights and learn how to protect yourself and learn what to expect. Here’s a long list of things you really want to know if you are applying for LTD: How to Protect Yourself While Applying For Disability Through Your Employer

Medical Tests

CPET (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Some people find it helpful to have a two-day CPET test. There are advantages and disadvantages to this test. Many readers report it made a significant difference in helping them get approved. It does cause health damage in some people. It is also expensive and only done in a few places in the country. Learn more: How to Get a CPET (maybe)

Neuropsychological Testing

If your condition is causing problems with memory, focus, or concentration, many people find it helpful to have Neuropsychological testing. This may also be called Neurocognitive testing. Learn more about About Neuropsychological TestingSometime this kind of testing can be a great help. But not always: Neuropsychological Testing Can Help or Hurt Your LTD Application

Brain Scans

Some people report success by getting both a neuropsych test, and a brain scan. Types of brain scans for ME may include SPECT and QEEG. MRIs may also be helpful in some cases – some readers have found Functional MRIs to be more helpful. Here’s how Iris Got a QEEG

More Tests

If you are looking for more information on medical tests, check out: How to Get Tested for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Policy Caps

Mental Health Caps

If you are applying for a chronic pain or chronic fatigue condition, it’s really good to learn a little about how mental health caps work. Many insurance companies will approve you based on mental health or will try to claim that your disability is caused by a mental health diagnosis so that you will fall into this category. How to Avoid Getting Capped

Chronic Fatigue or Chronic Pain Caps

Although this is not very common, some polices also have another two year cap: chronic pain, chronic fatigue or environmental sensitivity illnesses. This may include conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Lyme Disease, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, “somatoform disorders.” Learn more about caps in the link above.


LTD lawyers are different than Social Security lawyers. Your lawyer does not need to be local You can hire an LTD lawyer anywhere in the country. These type of lawyers may also be called “ERISA” lawyers. This page includes lawyers who have knowledge of ME and CFS: Where to Find a Good Lawyer for Long Term Disability

Reading Library

Attorney Ken Casanova and the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association has assembled a comprehensive list of links and resources for Long Term Disability for CFS, ME and Fibromyalgia.

This page has a list of doctors recommended by readers with ME and CFS. LTD requires your doctor to fill out a lot of paperwork, so having a doctor who is willing to assist can be important.

Attorney Barbara Comford has written this interesting (and somewhat technical) article on ME/CFS and Long Term DisabilityIn this article, she recommends that a person with ME/CFS should not go to functional capacity exams scheduled by the insurance company.

Also by Barbara Comford: Medically Documenting Disability in ME/CFS 

Brian Vastag won a federal court case against his Long Term Disability provider, after he got denied on his ME disability claim. If you are working with a lawyer, you may wish to share with them a copy of the court ruling. Here’s a good article about Brian’s case.

Thanks for Reading

🌸 This page is part of the free online guide: How to Protect Yourself While Applying for LTD

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌸 Page Updated: 10/1/19

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Please share this page with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

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