November 7, 2011

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits in Indiana

An individual suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) experiences extreme fatigue.  This fatigue cannot be explained by any underlying medical condition. Although the fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, it does not always improve with rest. Individuals suffering with CFS do not know the cause of this disorder and there is no single test to diagnosis an individual with CFS.  Indiana disability claimants diagnosed with CFS may undergo several medical exams to rule out other health problems that have symptoms that are similar resulting in a diagnosis of CFS.

Many disability claimants suffering with CFS may find it difficult to prove that they are unable to work due to this condition.  So, how does the Social Security Administration (SSA) approve a Social Security disability claim for individuals suffering with CFS?  According to the SSA’s website, when an individual with CFS applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the SSA must decide whether the individual is disabled under the law. The SSA base their decision on information provided by the claimant and other medical evidence. Under Social Security law, an individual may qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits if he or she is:

  1. unable to do any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a medical condition that has lasted or expected to last for at least 12 months, or that is expected to result in death; or
  2. if the individual is under the age or 18, the individual suffers from any medically determinable impairment (physical or mental) that results in marked and severe functional limitations.

The disability claimant has a responsibility to provide the SSA proof that the condition exist, the level of severity, and duration of the impairment(s).   It is important to include a thorough medical history, and all clinical and laboratory findings from your treating physicians. In addition, provide the SSA with copies of laboratory results and results of any mental status examinations.

Providing the SSA with all clinical records and detailed historical notes discussing the course of the disorder, including treatment and response, are very useful for the SSA since they are interested in the impact of the illness over a period of time.

Having your medical provider’s support may be key in winning your SSDI or SSI claim.  Some disability claimants may find it helpful to include a physician’s statement about what work-related restrictions the person may not be able to perform due to their condition. Examples of work-related physical functions may include walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying, and handling.  Some mental work-related functions may include understanding, remember, carry out simple instructions, the ability to use appropriate judgment, and the ability to respond appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and usual work situations, including changes in a routine work setting.

As stated above, because there is no specific test diagnosing an individual with CFS, it is extremely important to have medical history and physician support with your disability claim.  Indianapolis Attorney Scott D. Lewis has experience with representing individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and other unexplained disorders such as fibromyalgia.  Don’t give up on your disability claim.  Call for a free consultation at (317) 423-8888.  Social Security disability lawyer Scott Lewis looks forward to discussing your disability claim!

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