Does this sound familiar? How many of you have had this happen to you? Many of you have had this happen over and over again. How frustrating for you and for those of us who have lived through this with you as spouses, caregivers or sympathetic doctors.
As a doctor who has treated fibromyalgia patients since 1990 I can attest to this frustrating occurrence. I see my patients who suffer with unrelenting multiple symptoms that literally rob the fibromyalgia patient of their life. Unable to do, plan, work, live. Unless you have had the misfortune of actually suffering with this condition for only one day you cannot imagine what a fibromyalgia patient goes through on an daily basis. You cannot tell fibromyalgia patients that you understand or that you know how they feel because you don’t know how they feel.
Through all this frustration, pain, anxiety and depression that fibromyalgia brings on, our Social Security department adds misery onto this by constantly denying disability claims by these same patients. For myself, I see my patients go through this way too much. Finally like the gentleman in a movie some years ago who screamed out the window, “I’ve had it and I can’t take it anymore.”
After one of my patients was denied again for Social Security disability insurance I went to her hearing with her lawyer after completing various forms including a disability impairment questionnaire and a fibromyalgia questionnaire, to assist in anyway with professional medical information on her case. The judge was surprised that a doctor attended her hearing, apparently this is not a common occurrence. A number of questions were asked to clarify this patients past history, work experience, dates of diagnosis, any MRI or other objective studies that pertained to her case. The judge was very understanding and open to information. This patient was diagnosed by a Doctor of Rheumatology in 2010 although she had symptoms for many years prior to this diagnosis. For those of you who have fibromyalgia you know this lapse in diagnosis is common.
Finally after reviewing the patients records the judge made a surprising offer. He offered disability coverage starting in 2013 with back payments. His decision was based upon the patients MRI studies. The judge then commented to me that the vast majority of judges (70 to 80%) do not consider fibromyalgia as a viable condition for disability. He asked me a number of questions concerning the history of fibromyalgia, what it was based, and the female propensity for this condition. He was pleasantly surprised at the answers that I offered. I would have hoped to continue the discussion but he had other cases that he had to attend to.
If you are going to court to attempt to obtain disability insurance and the judges are already set in their opinion and they are the judge and jury in these cases, where do you go?
Here are my suggestions!
1. Based upon the Social Security Disability Insurance POLICY INTERPRETATION RULING (effective/Publication Date: 08/09/2006
“Acceptable Medical Sources” presently are limited to
-Licensed physicians (medical or osteopathic doctors); Get one of these doctors to support you and your condition
-Licensed or certified psychologists, mental retardation, learning disabilities
-Licensed optometrists, visual acuity or visual fields
-Licensed podiatrists, impairment of foot or ankle
-Qualified speech-language pathologists, speech, language impairment
These are the individuals that will help you receive disability insurance if you get the right judge to hear your case. How many of these professionals will support your claim is another question since many physicians still do not believe in the validity of fibromyalgia as a condition.
Everyone else including myself are considered “OTHER SOURCES”
So I’m an “other” whose information is again individually weighed and determined by the adjudicator who most likely does not really believe that what you or I say holds much weight.
If you are a patient of mine, I will assist you in your attempts at obtaining disability insurance since I’ve already been through the process of what is expected.
If you are looking for the legal team that assisted this patient here they are. I’m not getting paid for this referral. I’m just glad there is a law firm that will stand up for you and understand your condition.
Binder and Binder
lawyer -Michael S. Stretton
3877 North 7th street, suite 305
Phoenix, Az. 85014
It’s time for you to scream that you’ve had it and you’re not going to take it anymore!