Why Is It So Hard To Get Disability For Fibromyalgia?

One of the many questions asked about fibromyalgia is whether this condition is a disability or not. There is no doubt that fibromyalgia pain can get so severe that it makes performing usual tasks difficult and even impossible. As such, patients often see their fibromyalgia as a form of disability, preventing them from doing the usual tasks like a normal person.

Why It’s Difficult To Get Fibromyalgia Recognized As Disability

In order for a particular condition to be recognized as a disability, the ADA or Americans With Disabilities Act has stated that it should cause an impairment that will substantially limit one from doing major activities in life. By this standard, it would seem that fibromyalgia belongs under such a category. But the truth is, just like with anything else that requires government involvement, it is not really that simple.

When a condition is recognized officially as a disability, you are entitled to receive some benefits from the government. In addition, your employer(s) is obliged to provide you with reasonable accommodation. To prevent exploitation, the government has set certain rules and requirements which you have to meet for your condition to be recognized as a disability.

Just because fibromyalgia is recognized officially as an illness does not mean that your condition will be. You must first prove your condition and that it is preventing you from doing normal things in life. Unfortunately, this is not easy because of several reasons.

First, the condition will not leave any physical signs to prove that you actually have it. This means that you will always run the risk of being accused of faking the condition.  In comparison to other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, patients show visible symptoms and will usually find it much easier to get their disability request approved simply because of the fact that doctors can detect the symptoms.

Second, you need to find a doctor that can validate that your fibromyalgia is severe to the point of disability.  The doctor also has to be willing to provide the necessary documents. This requires a doctor who is very familiar with chronic pain syndrome to do so. Unfortunately, there is not many out there.

How To Get Your Fibromyalgia Certified As Disability

The first thing you need to do is to look for a pain clinic with the right doctor.  Having a knowledgeable doctor to advise you on how to get your disability recognized is key.

Second, you need to gather all the documents required and provide all the proof that the government will need. This can take months of regular visits to various government agencies, which may be tough considering that you are already suffering from the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.

In many ways, fibromyalgia patients are unfortunately not getting the support that they need. They are mere victims of a terrible disease, unfair laws, and not to mention a lack of public awareness.

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1 Response

  1. Jo Weitzel says:

    I live in Ontario. I was diagnosed in 1995 and was on disability right away. It is still an invisible disease but i find more and more people are aware and are learning about symptoms and suffering. More doctors are also educating themselves about it. The trick is to get a young doctor as older ones are harder to convince that you really are in constant pain. Having 14 tender spots and restless legs and TMJ and IBS and sleep deprivation does convince them eventually. Keep up the good work of informing people about this disease. I appreciate your emails.

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