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:
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.
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.
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:
If your Fibromyalgia causes problems with memory, focus, concentration or cognitive functioning, neuropsychological testing may be helpful.
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.
Documenting mental health can be very important (and very helpful) in Fibromyalgia disability claims
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:
Stories from 10 people with fibromyalgia who got approved. Here’s how they did it:
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.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
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Updated May 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: