How to Get Approved for Disability for Fibromyalgia

Art: Robin Mead

Everything you ever wanted to know and everything you never wanted to know about applying for disability with Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Function Forms

An RFC form is a special form you can bring your doctor to fill out. It asks specific questions that Social Security is looking for to make a decision about your case. Below are several versions of forms. Pick the one that works best for you:

🌷 Fibromyalgia 1

🌷 Fibromyalgia 2

🌷 Fibromyalgia 3

🌷 Fibromyalgia 4

What Doctor Should Fill Out This Form? 

If possible, it is helpful if you can get this form filled out by a rheumatologist. If that is not possible, your regular doctor can also fill it out.

Update: Some of our readers report that rheumatologists in their areas have stopped treating fibromyalgia. If this happens, you can still go to a rheumatologist for assessment and diagnosis, and then back to your general practitioner for treatment.

🌷 How to Make Sure Your Function Form is Accurate and Helpful

🌷 How to Get Your Doctor to Fill Out Disability Paperwork

🌷 How to Find a Doctor to Help With Disability Documentation

Other Function Forms

In addition to the Fibromyalgia form, it can be a great help if your primary doctor or other specialists also fill out mental and physical function forms including all conditions or symptoms you struggle with.

🌷 Sample Residual Functional Capacity Forms

Disability Resources from Dr. Podell

Dr. Richard Podell is one of the nation’s leading integrative medicine physicians. Although now retired, he continues to share these excellent resources on his website to help other patients:

🌷 Social Security Disability Fibromyalgia Worksheets

🌷 Social Security’s Rules for Fibromyalgia Disability

🌷 Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire 

🌷 About Doctor Podell

Neuropsychological Testing

If your Fibromyalgia causes problems with memory, focus, concentration or cognitive functioning, neuropsychological testing may be helpful.

🌷 Lilac’s Neuropsychological Report for Fibromyalgia

🌷 How to Get Neuropsychological Testing

Social Security Ruling

Social Security has a special ruling for Fibromyalgia. Here is a link to the complete policy text: Social Security Ruling on Fibromyalgia. You are not required to match this ruling exactly, however the ruling can be a useful took to help your case. Key points in the ruling include:

🌷 Evidence of chronic widespread pain, including pain in the back, neck, or chest

🌷 A doctor must have ruled out other causes of your Fibromyalgia symptoms through the use of lab tests or x-rays. (Examples of conditions some doctors rule out: lupus, hypothyroidism, and multiple sclerosis).

🌷 Tender points in at least 11 of 18 tender point areas of the body, with tender points occurring on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist. (The ruling above includes a diagram of where these spots are)

🌷 Repeated occurrences of six or more fibromyalgia signs or symptoms, particularly fatigue, cognitive, or memory problems, non-restorative sleep, depression, anxiety, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other possible symptoms include headache, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, Raynaud’s phenomenon, seizures, and dizziness. Additional signs and symptoms are listed in the ruling.

Mental Health

Documenting mental health can be very important (and very helpful) in Fibromyalgia disability claims

🌷 How to Document Mental Health

ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Some people who have Fibromyalgia are also diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Social Security has a special ruling that is helpful:

🌷 How to Use the Ruling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

🌷 How to Get Diagnosed with ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Stories from 10 people with fibromyalgia who got approved. Here’s how they did it:

🌷 How I Got Approved for Disability for Fibromyalgia

How and Where to Apply

Social Security Disability is often called SSI or SSDI. Nearly everyone can apply (if someone told you that you can’t apply, don’t give up just yet!). Some people also apply for private insurance through your employer’s insurance company.

🌷 Guide to Applying for Social Security Disability

🌷 Guide to Applying for Disability Through Your Employer’s Insurance

🌷 Other Forms of Disability

🌷 Typical Timeline for a Social Security Disability Application


Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

Updated May 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

1 thought on “How to Get Approved for Disability for Fibromyalgia”

  1. I am from the EU and had quite a lot of problems registering as a fibromyalgia patient… I am still waiting to be approved, but thankfully, I have only minor symptoms of it, so I can somehow manage them. Hopefully, it won’t progress fast, so I can enjoy being active for a while.
    The only thing I found annoying is that forms like you posted here almost can’t be found where I live – it takes a lot of time and patience.


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