Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The most difficult disability claims to establish are those based upon subjective medical evidence, such as fibromyalgia. There is no diagnostic or laboratory test for fibromyalgia, and the diagnosis is confirmed through clinical findings of tender or trigger points on the body that cause pain.

While there is no diagnostic or laboratory test for fibromyalgia, that does not mean that a disability claim based upon fibromyalgia should disregard medical test data. Fibromyalgia is a rheumatic disorder and is frequently associated with positive blood test findings, which are indicative of inflammation or other systemic abnormality.

I represent a former plant manager who stopped working five years ago, when she was just 46 years old, due to fibromyalgia. Her disability application was just approved today without a hearing. Among other things, I obtained a report from the claimant’s rheumatologist stating that the claimant’s fibromyalgia prevented her from working.

This fibromyalgia claim was approved relatively quickly because in addition to providing the requisite evidence regarding trigger points, I also submitted records revealing abnormal blood test results, such as positive ANA antibodies. While the test evidence cannot confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it indicates that there is some systemic abnormality. While claim adjudicators dislike fibromyalgia cases in general, they appear more receptive to a claim when there seems to be an undiagnosed rheumatoid process, probably because they feel such evidence cannot be faked.

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