How Hard Is It to Claim Disability for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

December 10, 2021
Dayes Law Firm

Disability claims are hardly ever approved at the initial stage. It may take a reconsideration request or an appeal hearing to be granted benefits, if at all. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) is generally skeptical of the validity of most SSDI and SSI claims. They often look for ways to deny a claim.

Cases involving chronic fatigue syndrome only make the disability claims process harder. Chronic fatigue is not easy to diagnose, and the SSA requires considerable objective medical evidence to support your condition. This includes an opinion from your treating doctor detailing your work limitations.

At Dayes Law Firm, we know how debilitating it is to have chronic fatigue syndrome. We are ready to review your claim and pursue the disability benefits you need. Below, we further discuss the challenges people may face in claiming disability for chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Challenges Claiming Disability for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious, long-term illness that affects many body systems. People diagnosed with this condition are often unable to work and do most daily activities. The fatigue can be so severe that people become bedridden.

Despite these limitations, chronic fatigue is challenging to measure. The condition causes similar symptoms to other illnesses and there is no definitive test to confirm a diagnosis. Doctors often base a diagnosis on specific symptoms a person is experiencing after ruling out other possible causes.

Your doctor may, for instance, conduct a detailed medical exam about your medical history, your family’s medical history and the severity, length and frequency of your current symptoms. Blood and urine tests may also be ordered to make sure a low red blood cell count is not indicative of anemia.

Another challenge is that the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown. There may be more than one factor involved. Theories from researchers range from viral infections to psychological stress.

If you have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and cannot work, the best way to improve your chances of being approved for disability benefits is by having an experienced lawyer on your side. He or she will know what the SSA is looking for in your claim and represent your best interests.

How Does the SSA Evaluate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Cases?

There is no specific listing for chronic fatigue syndrome in the SSA Blue Book. However, you may qualify if the SSA finds that your chronic fatigue syndrome is medically equivalent to a listed impairment.

For instance, listing 14.06B for undifferentiated and mixed connective tissue disease shares similar debilitating symptoms, such as severe fatigue and general weakness.

Most people with chronic fatigue syndrome are issued benefits based on a medical-vocational allowance, which includes a thorough review of your medical records. The SSA will take into consideration:

  • Your age
  • Education level
  • Work history
  • Residual functional capacity (RFC)

Your RFC determines whether you are disabled and should receive disability benefits. The SSA will likely not grant you benefits unless:

  • Your chronic fatigue syndrome limits your RFC to the point that you are unable to do basic work activities you did at your past jobs
  • Your chronic fatigue syndrome limits your RFC to the point that you are unable to do other jobs

Evidence of a Medically Determinable impairment

Social Security Ruling 14-1p further outlines the requirements for chronic fatigue syndrome to be evaluated. The ruling states that while it can be a disabling condition, chronic fatigue syndrome must first be established as a medically determinable impairment by medical signs and/or laboratory findings.

You must have at least one of the following medical signs documented over half a year or more:

  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes on a physical exam
  • A dry sore throat
  • Ongoing muscle tenderness during repeated exams
  • The presence of positive tender points

Laboratory findings that may establish the existence of a medically determinable impairment include:

  • A positive test for Epstein-Barr virus
  • An abnormal MRI
  • An abnormal exercise stress test
  • Abnormal sleep studies

Unsure If You Qualify for Disability? Contact Us

Claiming disability for chronic fatigue syndrome is no easy feat, but you may be able to improve your chances by having a licensed Social Security Disability lawyer in Phoenix represent you. Learn if you have a valid claim in a free consultation.

You are under no obligation after this meeting to hire us, but if you do, there are zero upfront fees involved. We do not get paid unless we help you get benefits.

Talk to a lawyer today: 1-800-503-2000