Can You Get Social Security Disability if You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

woman rubbing nose because she's tiredAre you one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome?

This debilitating condition can prevent people from working, spending time with their family or engaging in many other activities they want to enjoy. Sometimes the fatigue is so severe people cannot get up out of bed and trying to push through the fatigue can often make things worse.

Sigman Janssen may be able to help you obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, as chronic fatigue syndrome is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Contact our firm to find out if you may be eligible for benefits. There are no upfront costs with our services, and we have a proven record of obtaining disability benefits for SSD applicants.

Call Sigman Janssen today. Phone: (877) 888-5201.

Common Symptoms/Signs of Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). This condition is characterized by persistent fatigue that cannot be explained by the presence of another medical condition. Victims may think the fatigue will subside with rest, but the fatigue persists no matter how much sleep you get.

CFS or ME can cause a variety of symptoms besides fatigue:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Regular headaches
  • Pain in your joints or muscles
  • Trouble remembering
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Trouble with processing information
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia
  • Worsening fatigue after you exert yourself physically or mentally (post-exertional malaise)
  • Sleeping for an unusually long time
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Poor depth perception
  • Feeling extra sensitive to light
  • Frequent viral infections that take a long time to recover from

While there is no cure for this condition, it may be possible to manage symptoms to help improve quality of life. For example, there are medications that can help with sleep disturbances. People may also be able to make lifestyle changes to lessen fatigue.

The severity of this condition varies depending on many factors unique to each patient. That is why treatment plans should be customized on an individual basis.

Sigman Janssen’s Green Bay Social Security Disability lawyers may be able to help you seek compensation if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

How Does the Social Security Administration Define Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The SSA awards benefits to those who have a medically determinable impairment (MDI) that is supported by medical evidence. An MDI is a physical or mental impairment that is expected to last 12 months or more or result in death. The physical or mental ailment also prevents the person from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

Chronic fatigue syndrome may be considered an MDI if there is clinically evaluated, persistent or relapsing fatigue with the following characteristics:

  • It is new and there is a definitive point when it started
  • The fatigue cannot be explained by a physical or mental disorder
  • It does not happen because of ongoing physical exertion
  • Rest does not provide substantial relief
  • Fatigue causes a significant reduction in usual levels of occupational, educational, social or personal activities

What Information Do You Need To Provide To Establish Your Eligibility?

You need detailed medical evidence from a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor. Claims examiners do not rely on the diagnosis alone. The doctor must:

  • Do a physical exam and review of the patient’s medical history
  • Explain in treatment notes if symptoms are stable, getting better or getting worse
  • Evaluate the patient’s functional capacity and physical abilities

Claims examiners will review this evidence and compare it with the rest of the applicant’s treatment record to determine if the CFS diagnosis is consistent.

When claims examiners review an application, they will look for proof of at least one of the following symptoms over six months:

  • Swollen lymph nodes that can be identified on physical examination
  • Nonexudative pharyngitis
  • Persistent muscle tenderness in multiple examinations with specific tender areas
  • Sinusitis
  • Ataxia
  • Frequent viral infections that require a long recovery
  • Pronounced change in weight
  • Severe pallor

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should also include them in your application, as they may improve your chances of being approved for benefits:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain in your muscles
  • Pain in multiple joints that does not include redness or swelling
  • Tender axillary or cervical lymph nodes
  • Post-exertional malaise that lasts more than one day
  • Impaired short-term memory or concentration that results in a reduction in occupational, educational, social or other activities
  • Waking up feeling unrefreshed
  • Headaches that have a different pattern, severity or type than before

There are also laboratory findings that could help establish that you have a medically determinable impairment that qualifies for benefits. This includes:

  • An MRI brain scan that is abnormal
  • Hypotension that is neurally mediated as demonstrated by tilt table testing
  • Additional laboratory findings consistent with evidence in your medical records, such as sleep studies or exercise stress tests

Evidence of Your Work-Related Limitations

Claims examiners must also evaluate the severity and frequency of an applicant’s symptoms to determine how they limit your ability to work. They need to determine if you can still do the job you were doing before the onset of your condition or if you could work in another job.

Applicants can have their doctors do a residual functional capacity (RFC) exam to determine physical and mental limitations from their disability. During an RFC, doctors evaluate how your condition affects your ability to do a variety of tasks, like:

  • Lift or carry things
  • Stand or sit for a long period of time
  • Concentrate on a task for an extended period
  • Get to work on time
  • Go to work regularly
  • Understand complex instructions

Call Sigman Janssen For Assistance With Your Disability Claim

Whether you have just started an application for benefits or your application has already been denied, we may be able to help you. Sigman Janssen has helped many applicants obtain the benefits they needed. We have extensive knowledge of the process and the evidence needed to get Social Security Disability benefits.

You can contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn how we may be able to help you. We do not charge any fees unless you receive federal disability benefits.

Sigman Janssen. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Call for assistance: (877) 888-5201.