Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Fibromyalgia in New Jersey
Fibromyalgia can cause severe effects that, for some individuals, may be disabling. If you are unable to work due to severe fibromyalgia symptoms, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is a type of disability benefit paid monthly by the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you think you might have a disability claim, or if you wish to appeal a claim that has already been denied, the New Jersey SSDI lawyers of Young, Marr & Associates are ready to assist you and your family.
Equipped with more than 30 years of legal experience, our Social Security attorneys understand the application and appeals procedures that affect disability claimants. We know what the SSA looks for and are here to help improve your odds of success, strengthening your application and providing aggressive representation at appeals. To arrange a free legal consultation, contact our law offices online today, or call Young, Marr & Associates 24 hours at (215) 515-2954.
Effects and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, less commonly known as “fibrositis,” is a common yet incurable medical condition that affects roughly 3 million Americans each year. Symptoms and effects of fibromyalgia typically include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, anxiety, and depression.
Though often manageable with medical treatment, fibromyalgia is chronic and incurable, which means its symptoms can persist for many years. Unfortunately, some individuals experience worse symptoms than others. In some cases, these symptoms may be severe enough to make working impossible.
Can You Get SSDI Benefits for Fibromyalgia in New Jersey?
You may qualify for SSDI benefits with fibromyalgia if you are a resident of New Jersey. It depends on whether you are able to meet certain criteria set by the SSA. Some of these criteria measure the severity of your illness, while others look at your work history.
Medical Requirements for SSDI
The SSA has two main medical requirements for SSDI applicants:
- First, there is a time requirement: your condition must have lasted (or be expected to last) for at least 12 months. Since fibromyalgia is chronic and untreatable, it usually meets this condition.
- The second requirement is more difficult to meet: your condition must be severe enough, as determined by an SSA doctor, to prevent you from engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). If you are earning more than $1,220 per month, you are engaging in SGA, which means you are not disabled by SSA standards.
Employment Requirements for SSDI
In addition to being severely disabled, you must also have a prior work history, which is measured in terms of your “work credits.” Most SSDI applicants need a total of 40 work credits, though the precise number varies from person to person.
You can accumulate up to four work credits per year, depending on how much income you earn. Individuals who did not work before becoming disabled, such as children or teens, may qualify for other types of SSA benefits that are not dependent on work credits.
Is Fibromyalgia Considered a Disability?
The SSA does not currently include fibromyalgia in its “Blue Book,” or Listing of Impairments, which lists SSDI-eligible conditions and the medical criteria for evaluating each. Combined with the difficulty of diagnosing fibromyalgia, and the wide range of symptoms which patients can experience, this can make qualifying exceptionally difficult. However, that does not mean it is impossible or that you should give up.
In 2012, the SSA released separate guidelines, SSR 12-2p, that explain how SSA doctors should evaluate fibromyalgia claims. For example, SSR 12-2p directs physicians to physically palpate patients in search of painful or tender spots, up to 18 of which are located on various points around the body. The claimant should also have a “history of widespread pain… that has persisted (or that persisted) for at least three months.”
Even if you do not match the SSA’s medical criteria for fibromyalgia exactly, you may be able to qualify if your symptoms are so severe that you are unable to perform work beyond certain thresholds. You should talk to an experienced SSDI attorney in New Jersey if you have questions about your potential eligibility for benefits.
How Much Do Social Security Disability Benefits Pay in 2019?
The SSA sets certain limits, or caps, on the maximum amount of SSDI that is available to each claimant. These limits fluctuate from year to year due to inflation. For example, the maximum monthly SSDI payment in 2019 is $2,861, a slight increase from the $2,788 monthly maximum in 2018. Most SSDI claimants receive a monthly benefit in the $800 to $1,800 range, with the average claimant receiving a benefit of around $1,234.
New Jersey SSDI Lawyers Filing Fibromyalgia Disability Claims
If you or your child has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or other conditions that cause chronic, severe pain, you may be entitled to SSDI disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. For a free legal consultation about applying for SSDI in New Jersey or appealing a denied SSDI claim, contact the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates online, or call 24 hours at (215) 515-2954 for assistance.