As any good disability lawyer will tell you, there are some conditions that are more difficult to get on disability for than others. One of those conditions is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS. This is primarily because CFS seems to be a diagnosis that is used to describe a loosely related set of symptoms that can not be explained by any other means, the primary symptom of which is fatigue. If you have been told by your doctor that you have CFS, contact a Boise disability lawyer in our Boise, Idaho office today to get more information on how you can prepare your case to successfully apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.
In 2014, Social Security released SSR 14-1p entitled “Evaluating Claims Involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” to help claimants and their attorneys to better understand how CFS fits into Social Security’s set of medically determinable impairments. SSR 14-1p replaced SSR 99-2p, which was published in 1999 and first established how Social Security would deal with claims of Chronic Fatigue.
One of the key concepts in Social Security Disability that a disability lawyer must make sure every claim has is a medically determinable impairment or “MDI”. Certain conditions such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia are a set of symptoms that can’t otherwise be explained, which makes them difficult to diagnose, except by eliminating other sources of the symptoms. SSR 14-1p helps establish when chronic fatigue can be established as an MDI.
In general, SSR 14-1p defines Chronic Fatigue as a clinically evaluated, persistent or relapsing chronic fatigue that :
- Has a specific onset
- Is not explained by another identifiable condition or illness
- Is not related to exertion
- Is not alleviated by rest
- Results in a significant reduction in your ability to perform important occupational, social or personal activities.
Diagnostic Symptoms: Social Security points to the CDC case definition of Chronic Fatigue states that a person must have four or more of the following specific symptoms for 6 or more months:
- Tiredness after exerting yourself that lasts for 24 hours or more
- Difficulty with memory and concentration
- Soar Throat
- Tender lymph nodes in your neck
- Muscle Pain
- Waking unrefreshed
- Muscle weakness
- Problems sleeping
- Visual difficulties
- Fainting, dizziness or fatigue with prolonged standing
- Difficulty breathing
- Cardiovascular abnormalities
- Stomach Problems
There are also certain conditions that people with Chronic Fatigue also commonly suffer from, including:
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint syndrome
- Irritable Bowell Syndrome
- Interstitial systitis
- Raynauds phenomenon
- Chronic Lymphocitic Thyroiditis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- New allergies or sensitivities (cold all the time)
Disability lawyers know that Social Security will not simply take your doctor at his word that you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You will need a good Social Security attorney to help Social Security to find evidence of the above signs and conditions and show if you have other conditions that may be causing these signs and conditions. Social Security will require medical signs or laboratory findings that support your diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue before they will consider that it constitutes an MDI.
Medical Signs—Social Security will look for one or more of the following medical signs that last longer than 6 months:
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes on physical examination
- Sore throat (nonexudative)
- Tender Points
- Other, less persuasive, signs such as Frequent viral infections, Sinusitis, Ataxia, Extreme pallor, Pronounced weight change
Laboratory Findings—Your Disability Attorney should point out the following to Social Security to indicate your diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue is legitimate:
- An elevated antibody titer to Epstein-Barr virus capsid antigen equal to ore greater than 1:5120, or early antigen equal to or greater than 1:640
- Abnormal MRI of the brain
- Abnormal exercise stress test
- Abnormal sleep studies
In addition to those discussed above, your disability lawyer may be able to point to other medical signs and laboratory findings that Social Security may accept in deciding your Chronic Fatigue diagnosis constitutes an MDI. The key is that your doctor explains carefully what medical sings and laboratory findings he has considered in making his diagnosis. A diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue will be much stronger the more conditions that have been ruled out as possible causes for your signs and symptoms.
Contact our Boise disability lawyers today for a free case evaluation and find out if you meet the criteria for Social Security Disability.