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Old 10-04-2009, 06:33 AM   #1
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Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Hi All,
Does having fibromyalgia qualify as a disability for social security disability? Long story short, urologist doesn't think I have interstitial cystitis afterall, that the bladder is just an innocent bystander from the fibro affecting it and causing pelvic/bladder pain and widespread pain. Now, all I have to rely on if I do file is a diagnosis of chronic pain and fibromyalgia which to me seems a weak case to apply for disability. Anyone out there with similar problems and experiences? Thank you for your time in responding.

 
Old 10-04-2009, 07:52 AM   #2
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Does having fibromyalgia qualify as a disability for social security disability?
Yes and no. Fibro isn't one of the so called traditional categories that they match applications up to. However, many who have Fibro end up winning.


Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Long story short, urologist doesn't think I have interstitial cystitis afterall, that the bladder is just an innocent bystander from the fibro affecting it and causing pelvic/bladder pain and widespread pain.

Now, all I have to rely on if I do file is a diagnosis of chronic pain and fibromyalgia which to me seems a weak case to apply for disability. Anyone out there with similar problems and experiences?
It's not the "condition" that is important or wins a disability case, but rather the "effects" of a particular condition(s). This is the biggest mistake people make....They think that because they have a certain condition....Say cancer, that they'll automatically win. Or vice versa...That they have something that seems relatively minor, like Sinusitis, and can't win. Both are incorrect.

I highly recommend you read the thread "Not sure how to feel." Here is the direct link:

http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=666967

It goes into what happens at hearings, how to position oneself and etc. Lots of good information.

Let's briefly look at the two examples I provided above, Cancer and Sinusitis:

Cancer is a horrible disease, no doubt about it. But, people recover from it all the time. Many are able to withstand the side effects and work at least part time. If the cancer is treatable, then they may recover nearly fully.

Sinusitis on the other hand is a term for serious allergies. Some may think it's something one can deal with easily and shouldn't be even close to disabling. In most people it's not. However, if one's Sinusitis is chronic and causes them severe headaches, lots of infections, and as a result, ends up on lots of pain meds and etc., then the side effects of the condition, especially the meds, can disable someone rather easily....Especially if no improvement or change is expected. It's all about how one positions the condition and how it effects them on a day to day basis.

Additionally, Doc support is crucial. All good disability applications have a Doc who is firmly in their corner vouching for the applicant. So, in your case, if you've got a Doc or two (two is a slam dunk in most cases) who can say that this condition is causing lots of issues for you, then you've not got a weak case, but rather a strong one.

Pain meds are huge IMHO. First of all, the fact that one is taking them, is indictative of the condition in general. Secondly, the pain meds present all sorts of problems for potential employers. Many won't let you on their site location while taking them. At the very least, the meds make one loopy at times, causes sedation, effects driving, and a host of other issues to numerous to mention here.

The first and most important step is to see your Doc and ask if he'll support you. Make your case on how this condition is adversely effecting your life and all the complications. In my case, I went to my Doc and told him point blank that my condition was effecting my job and it was only a matter of time before things caught up to me and if I lost my job in some type of downsizing, I'd be very hard pressed, if not impossible, to find another one based on all the meds I was taking. For example, I'd never pass a pre-employment drug screen.

I didn't emphasize the meds to him, but he knows what I was referring to. And because he put me on all the meds and was treating me regularly, he was very supportive of my request.

So, I hope all of this is making sense. In your case, you indicate you have "widespread" pain. This seems, at least on the surface, to be something that you could make a very strong case out of....Especially given that you take pain meds. And, it goes without saying that the stronger the meds one takes, the stronger your case is for all the obvious reasons.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

Ex

Last edited by Executor; 10-04-2009 at 07:56 AM.

 
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:35 PM   #3
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Thanks Ex,
I'll look up that link. I think the biggest challenge is having my pain management doc and urlogist back me up. I don't look sick, am fairly young (53) and have been working full time since health problems began 7 years ago. I honestly think the docs think I can work full time. I'm going to have to be more forthright in telling them how this chronic pain and fatigue affects my job at work and activities of daily living.

 
Old 10-04-2009, 06:48 PM   #4
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post

I think the biggest challenge is having my pain management doc and urlogist back me up. I don't look sick, am fairly young (53) and have been working full time since health problems began 7 years ago. I honestly think the docs think I can work full time. I'm going to have to be more forthright in telling them how this chronic pain and fatigue affects my job at work and activities of daily living.
I had the same issue(s). What I did was go in and see the Doc who I thought was most likely to support me in my request. I took my spouse with me to vouch for what I was trying to say....Mainly as a "reinforcement"....Someone to give their own perspective on how your health affects the family unit and how they see things from their vantage point. 2 on 1 can be a very powerful situation if handled correctly.

I was very honest and just told my Doc that I had hit the point where I was really having problems....That I hung in there as best I could for as long as I could. I told him straight up that I thought I was very quickly getting to the point where I was "vulnerable" (at work)....And thus, my family was at possible risk, and I really didn't think that I could find any type of comparable job, given my situation, meds, and etc.

When you go down this road with your main Doc, especially the one who writes your meds, I think there is quite a bit of accountability (on the Doc's part). You have to be upfront with the Doc and explain that once the cat is out of the bag and you go out on STD, you really can't go back, because you could be vulnerable.

One word of caution....If you have this conversation with your Doc, focus on the condition and it's effects & etc...Not just the meds. You don't want for it to backfire and maybe have the Doc change your meds (to avoid the side effects)....Probably wouldn't happen, but be aware just in case. However, once you get into the disability process / application, you can re-foucs on the meds & etc, but not at this point, and not to the prescribing Doc.

Hope this helps, and please let me know if I can help further.

Regards,

Ex

 
Old 10-04-2009, 07:23 PM   #5
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Hi Suncat,
I have applied for SSD b/c of back injury and fibro. My problems started with a work related back injury 2 1/2 years ago...diagnosed with fibro 10 months ago. I tried to continue to work part time even after the fibro diagnosis and my doctor just pulled me out of work on Sept. 1. I agree with Ex...if you are on meds and you have a doctor in your corner, your chances are better. My lawyer said that people do win on fibro only diagnosis so in my case the back injury and pain just supports that. When you apply be sure to emphasize that in spite of your pain you tried hard to continue working but now it has become impossible. They know that you have given it your best shot. You will find some on this board who feel your chances at winning are better if you are not currently working....that makes sense to me. FYI...in my state the average wait for approval is 15 months! good luck and keep us posted!

Deb

 
Old 10-05-2009, 03:36 AM   #6
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Thanks Ex and Deb - good advice. I'm going back to work today after being on ST disability for five weeks. I just feel I've got to give it one more try. I'm terrified of not having any income coming in. Plus, I need the health insurance and my husband isn't working right now and has no health insurance. Ex you're right about the change in medications. My PM doc started me on a new med for fibro so I've got to see if it makes any difference. I'll take it day by day and will see if I can ride it out until the end of the year and then will reassess. Thanks again and will keep you posted.

 
Old 10-05-2009, 08:42 AM   #7
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Can I ask...what was the new med he gave you for the fibro...I have a immune disorder that causes attack to the tendons and joints but I went to a back dr last week that said he is sure I have fibro as well...my rheumy put me on lyrica but I am so afraid of this med...so just wondering...thanx




Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Thanks Ex and Deb - good advice. I'm going back to work today after being on ST disability for five weeks. I just feel I've got to give it one more try. I'm terrified of not having any income coming in. Plus, I need the health insurance and my husband isn't working right now and has no health insurance. Ex you're right about the change in medications. My PM doc started me on a new med for fibro so I've got to see if it makes any difference. I'll take it day by day and will see if I can ride it out until the end of the year and then will reassess. Thanks again and will keep you posted.

 
Old 10-05-2009, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

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Originally Posted by Debslol View Post
Can I ask...what was the new med he gave you for the fibro...I have a immune disorder that causes attack to the tendons and joints but I went to a back dr last week that said he is sure I have fibro as well...my rheumy put me on lyrica but I am so afraid of this med...so just wondering...thanx
I couldn't live without Lyrica. It took some time to get used to the side effects, but the beneifts definitely outweigh the side effects. I can feel a difference in my body when I miss a dose. I call it my miracle meds.
I used to think that my body aches were all in my head (due to everyone constantly telling me this) but I know now that's not correct. I feel a huge difference on Lyrica than when I'm not on it. Give it a try, it works different for everyone. Hope you have the same success that I've had. You will still have bad days, but with Lyrica it will hopefully help you have more good days.

 
Old 10-06-2009, 03:39 AM   #9
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Lyrica works well for alot of people. I was on it for ahwile but I didn't like the weight gain and bloating from it and it didn't cut down on the flares. I'm trying Savella. I've tried many meds in the past and have found that you just have to find the right one that helps you. I was on Cymbalta for ahwile that really helped so like a fool I went off of it when I felt better. When I tried to go back on it, I developed really bad vertigo. Hope this helps.

 
Old 10-06-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

I just started cymbalta which does the same thing with nerve pain...I have a very low dose of lyrica so once I get used to the cymbalta I will give it a try again...you just hear so many horror stories thanx for giving a positive outlook on it it really helps





Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Lyrica works well for alot of people. I was on it for ahwile but I didn't like the weight gain and bloating from it and it didn't cut down on the flares. I'm trying Savella. I've tried many meds in the past and have found that you just have to find the right one that helps you. I was on Cymbalta for ahwile that really helped so like a fool I went off of it when I felt better. When I tried to go back on it, I developed really bad vertigo. Hope this helps.

 
Old 10-06-2009, 09:57 AM   #11
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Debslol, I take Lyrica 3x daily. But, when I first started on it I had a hard time getting used to the side effect. (which for me, was light-headedness) So, I spoke to my Dr and he had me take it at night for a few weeks. I didn't have any weight gain from Lyrica. It wasn't til I started on my migraine meds that I blew up like an elephant, lol.
Unfortunately, I am allerigic to Cymbalta and meds like Cymbalta. I was excited to try it until bad things happened from it. Good luck and I hope you find a combination that works for you.

 
Old 10-06-2009, 11:31 AM   #12
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Thanks Ex and Deb - good advice. I'm going back to work today after being on ST disability for five weeks. I just feel I've got to give it one more try. I'm terrified of not having any income coming in. Plus, I need the health insurance and my husband isn't working right now and has no health insurance. Ex you're right about the change in medications. My PM doc started me on a new med for fibro so I've got to see if it makes any difference. I'll take it day by day and will see if I can ride it out until the end of the year and then will reassess. Thanks again and will keep you posted.
Good for you Suncat, Giving work another try. I admire your decision.
Since you feel you can do this, wonderful.

Living on a fixed income such as social security disability and not able to work is devasting. I encourage you for helping your family with health insurance and income. Your post can very well be an inspiration to others.

Wish you well
BeHappy2

 
Old 12-25-2009, 09:10 PM   #13
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

I have Fibro/CFS/DDD/Osteoporosis/Hypothyroid and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired; thinking of applying for SSDI...will obtain legal advice first; but I have a friend who has a friend who won her case (age 40) was a nurse...with diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I have had epidural injections; nerve blocks, radiofrequency; and I'm on lots of drugs....am afraid of losing my job due to foggy anti-focusing brain and being tired and not able to get up in the mornings nor sleep at night. It's worth checking into I think.

 
Old 12-25-2009, 09:18 PM   #14
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

I have been on 60 mg of Cymbalta for about two years now...Lyrica 150 mg a day; it blew me up like a baloon; I stopped it and feel better weight wise; not pain wise. Just had epidurals in my neck and low back which helps for a few months; Also started 10 mg. Celexa and an anti-anxiety drug; which is helping my blood pressure and sleep patterns. One thing about anti-depressants; you will become "immune" to them and need to change every so often. I've taken many over the past ten years, but wasn't diagnosed with Fibro until 2005 after I fractured a wrist and developed RSD...I've not been right since! I've pushed myself to work but at 58 now I am worried about making it until 65 to obtain medicaid. I've had to work to keep insurance for all the pain management and drugs I take. Radiofrequency helped my rib pain....it will last about 14-18 months and I'm due again. The cortizone injections don't help the bone situation. My osteopenia went into full blown osteoporosis now so I'm on Fosamax again....probably forever. I pray for comfort for all of use pain sufferers; it's not in your head; it's real; it would sure be nice to know the cause!

 
Old 01-04-2010, 08:47 AM   #15
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Re: Does Having Fibromyalgia Qualify for SSDI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by suncat View Post
Hi All,
Does having fibromyalgia qualify as a disability for social security disability? Long story short, urologist doesn't think I have interstitial cystitis afterall, that the bladder is just an innocent bystander from the fibro affecting it and causing pelvic/bladder pain and widespread pain. Now, all I have to rely on if I do file is a diagnosis of chronic pain and fibromyalgia which to me seems a weak case to apply for disability. Anyone out there with similar problems and experiences? Thank you for your time in responding.
I have Fibro and was granted disability in less than a year! I expected it would take longer. I had the total support of both my Rheumatologist and my PC physicians and I think that's key. When I first went to the Rheumy she told me then I was unable to work and that maybe with treatment I might be able to get a part time job. I tried meds and nothing has worked for me. NOTHING. Lyrica made me fall a lot and Cymbalta effected my ability to pee...can you imagine only going twice a day? I began to feel like a toxic dump site. I tried something else.....can't remember the name...starts with an S...it made my heart race and I had horrible palpitations (I already take something for rapid and irregaular heart rate..why make it worse) and she had me on Tramadal which is the closest thing to sugar pill as you can get. I got a lawyer...Binder and Binder and they worked wonders for me. Honestly. They filed my claim in December '08 and walked me through the whole deal. The government found that I became disabled in May of '08 so my money starts further back than I expected which was a surprise. I have gotten my SSI back pay and my SSDI checks have started too but I haven't gotten my back pay from that yet. YES....do go for it. Make sure your doctors are on your side. I swear I never asked if I could go on disability. They told me I needed to. I think that meant everything. I think if you're a little older it helps too. I've actually had all this going on since I was in my early 40's but I'm 58 now. Age was on my side. All this makes me feel incredibly old I have to say. A lot of people think there is nothing to Fibro but trust me, there is a lot to it. There is no way in this world I could work anymore. The doctors the state sent me to also agreed with my doctors.

Good luck to you!!
sharon

 
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