You may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits from the Social Security Administration if your fibromyalgia symptoms are so serious that you are unable to continue gainful employment. Unfortunately, it is quite common for initial disability benefits applications to be denied initially and it can take several weeks or months before an appeal results in a claim being eventually accepted. You will find that a disability attorney can provide valuable legal help if you need to file an appeal.
Appealing for Disability Benefits With Fibromyalgia
The SSA has an appeal process that anyone whose disability benefits claim has been denied can follow. There are four main steps involved in the appeal process and it is possible that your application could be accepted at any of these stages.
Responding to a denied claim within 60 days of receiving a letter from the SSA advising you that your application was rejected is important. The four steps follow in sequence. You only need to proceed with the next step if the preceding step of the appeal process fails.
The first step is to request a reconsideration of the original claim by someone different in the SSA from whoever assessed it before. The second step is to request a further review by an administrative law judge (ALJ). This will be done at a hearing with the ALJ in attendance and possibly other medical experts and your attorney if you so wish. Failing these two steps, you can request a review by the Appeals Council and finally, you can file a civil claim in a federal district court.
How to File a Successful Appeal for Disability Benefits With Fibromyalgia
Your original application would have been rejected typically because the SSA did not think you had sufficient evidence to support your claim that your fibromyalgia symptoms were serious enough to justify offering you disability benefits. They may also have decided that you did not show that you could no longer work for at least the next 12 months.
These deficiencies can be rectified by providing better medical evidence when you request a reconsideration or at an ALJ hearing. One of the best ways of confirming your inability to keep working is to ask your doctor to assess your residual functional capacity (RFC). This series of tests assesses your ability to perform physical tasks and mental tasks, such as bending, lifting, and standing, and can help to show that you can no longer do the job you had been doing beforehand.
Why Was My Fibromyalgia Claim Denied?
Three of the most common reasons why your fibromyalgia claim for benefits was denied include:
- failure to properly demonstrate that your fibromyalgia prevents you from working for at least the next 12 months;
- insufficient medical evidence to match the SSA’s criteria for fibromyalgia;
- not having enough work credits to qualify for benefits through the SSDI program.
Whatever the reasons for the denied decision, you are advised to start the appeal process as soon as you can, certainly within the 60-day time limit that the SSA sets after you receive the letter advising you that your claim was rejected.
Get Help With Your Appeal For Disability With Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is potentially a serious disabling condition. You are entitled to apply for disability benefits, but your claim may be rejected. There is an established appeal procedure and with more evidence and help from a disability attorney you may be able to have your denied claim overturned.
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