If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, or suspect that you might have the condition, you may be wondering how you can adjust your life to better suit your health needs. One common question that Fibromyalgia patients come across is if Fibromyalgia is considered to be a disability or not? Well, this is an important question to ponder because many disabilities come with their own set of challenges. These challenges may directly or indirectly interfere with your life quality, work quality, and overall well-being. Understanding if a condition is considered a disability or not helps a patient understand and manage his life/work challenges and obtain any benefits offered by the local government pertaining to that disability. Similarly, understanding if Fibromyalgia is a disability or not will help you manage to do the same.
So, let’s discuss whether Fibromyalgia falls under the category of disability or not and under what conditions and how can a patient avail of any benefits pertaining to Fibromyalgia as a disability.
Fibromyalgia: Disability Or Not?
So let’s begin by discussing whether Fibromyalgia is a disability or not. In order to determine this, let’s consider the following definition of Disability by The Social Security Disability Regulations:
“Disability is the inability to do any substantial gainful activity due to your medical or mental problem.”
Now, let’s apply the aforementioned definition to Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia, as we’ve discussed already in one of the previous articles on healthylineoutlet, is a condition involving both physical and mental symptoms. The physical symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, body stiffness, swelling, etc. The mental symptoms include cognitive difficulties, anxiety, depression, etc. So it’s clear that Fibromyalgia involves “medical or mental problems”, which are the two requirements stated in the above-mentioned definition of Disability. Now whether these medical and mental problems cause an “inability to do any substantial gainful activity” is the point of debate.
In the case of Fibromyalgia, there’s no definitive answer as to whether it’s considered a disability or not, because the extent to which every patient experiences it varies. In other words, it depends on the severity of the disease and “whether it causes an inability to perform any substantial gainful activity” that decides whether or not it’d be labeled a disability. So while one patient’s Fibromyalgia may be considered a disability, others may not. It all boils down to how much the disease affects your daily/work life.
Factors That Make Fibromyalgia A Disability
Now that we’ve applied the definition of Disability to Fibromyalgia, let’s discuss the factors that must be taken into account while analyzing Fibromyalgia as a disability. These factors are important because they’ll help you decide whether you can apply for disability benefits under the ADA (The Americans With Disabilities Act). This act applies to people who can prove, according to federal regulations, that they have a disability. So the following factors can help you prove whether your Fibromyalgia qualifies as a disability:
- You can’t perform fundamental work-related/daily tasks
- You’ve multiple impairments (physical and mental difficulties) which put a combined debilitating effect on your health
- You have a record of experiencing difficulties performing in your previous job
- You are aged, which makes you more prone to getting affected by your physical/mental symptoms
- You’re not highly educated, which makes you unable to secure a comfortable job (suiting your health needs) and more prone to work-related difficulties
- Your physical and mental symptoms are persistent and make it difficult for you to function normally (this can be proven with medical tests and psychological findings)
- You’ve other medical conditions as well besides Fibromyalgia which makes you all the more deserving of getting disability benefits.
Can Fibromyalgia Patients Apply For Disability?
Yes. Fibromyalgia patients can apply for disability and disability benefits. However, it’ll be a little more complicated for Fibromyalgia patients to prove their illness as a disability as compared to other illnesses because Fibromyalgia is typically difficult to diagnose. However, it’s still very possible for you to get disability benefits for Fibromyalgia if you can provide details of the disease and prove it as a disability to the concerned authorities.
Fibromyalgia may qualify as a disability or not depending on the severity of the disease and whether it significantly impairs daily/work-related tasks.