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Social Security Archives

Does Fibromyalgia qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits?

Fibromyalgia is a condition that results in chronic, widespread pain/tenderness in joints, muscles, tendons or other soft tissues.  Fibromyalgia manifests itself in a number of ways but the most common symptom is chronic widespread pain.  Fibromyalgia's symptoms vary widely from person to person.  There is currently no definitive diagnostic test for Fibroyalgia.  The American College of Rheumatology established criteria to diagnose Fibromylgia, which consists of a patient having widespread pain that lasts for at least three months, and that the pain occurs in 11 out of the 18 tender points in the body.  

The Difference between Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are two federally created programs that help provide individuals with the income they need to support themselves and their families. Sadly, a large percentage of the people that apply for benefits through these two programs are often denied benefits.  Currently in Pennsylvania approximately 60% of initial claims for SSD or SSI are denied.  It also takes quite a bit of time for the claims to be processed.  In Pennsylvania the average case processing time (the time from the date a hearing is first requested to the date of the final decision) is approximately 438 days!  There are certain exceptions to the case processing time, certain dire needs situations and persons with certain disabilities will be automatically awarded benefits pending a formal decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Social Security Disability Overview

Social Security Disability benefits are provided by the Social Security Administration (an agency of the Federal Government) to people who cannot work due to a severe medical condition which results in a disability that is expected to last at least one year.  Social Security Disability benefits are only provided to people who meet a very strict definition of disability.  A "disability" is defined as not being able to engage in any "substantial gainful activity because of a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment(s) that is expected to result in death or that has lasted, or is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months."  There is a separate definition of disability for children under the age of 18 years.

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