Video Q & A:

Jobs/Disability

Question:

Does FM qualify as a legal disability in the U.S.?

Expert:   Beard, Kenya, ACNP-BC, Hunter College »

If your fibromyalgia prevents you from working, you may qualify for disability benefits. Find out why and how.

Transcript: If your fibromyalgia prevents you from working, you may qualify for disability benefits in one of two ways: through your employer or through the federal government. Workers’ compensation programs and Social Security disability benefits are the two largest benefit programs available to those with disabilities such as fibromyalgia. Workers' compensation programs are designed and regulated at the STATE level, so whether you qualify or not varies from state to state. These programs typically offer benefits for a variety of situations, including short-term, long-term, partial, or total disability. The catch? You NEED to have been injured on the job or have a condition related to your occupation. If you and your healthcare provider can link your fibromyalgia to your job, you may be eligible. Worker’s comp benefits can include coverage for treatment and some compensation for lost wages. If you’re prevented from working AFTER treatment, permanent disability benefits may be available. To see if your state offers workers comp benefits for fibromyalgia, go to www.workerscompensation.com. The Social Security Administration administers the NATIONAL disability program. Benefits are ONLY available to those with long-term disabilities AND in these claims, your condition does NOT have to be related to your occupation. A person is considered to have a disability if they cannot do work that they did BEFORE, if they cannot adjust to other work because of their medical condition, and/ or their condition has lasted longer than a year or is determined to be fatal. Disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which includes fibromyalgia, are qualifying conditions—and symptoms that may qualify you include challenges with reaching, pushing, pulling, and grasping and pain that affects your ability to perform basic work activities. You WILL need to provide a full history of your diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment in order to qualify for Social Security benefits, so finding a physician to work with who supports your claim is an absolute MUST. To get details on qualifying go to www.ssa.gov for their full list of criteria. More »

Can't Find an Answer? Send us your question »