I get a lot of questions about fibromyalgia and other medical conditions that rely on subjective reporting by patients. These cases are definitely getting more difficult to win. Here is a question sent to me by a blog reader that describes an increasingly typical situation:
I'm 41 yrs old and have been suffering for many years with narcolepsy and fibromyalgia. My sleep disorder actually falls between narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnolence. My family and myself are falling apart because of my disabilities. I've applied for disability in the past and was denied. I'm applying again and wanting to ask you how do i go about applying to prove my disability since its been denied in the past? How much weight does testimonials from family and friends carry? How much weight does a signed letter from my doctor saying, i can't work/drive its unsafe, carry?
I am not surprised that you have had a difficult time with Social Security. As you probably know, Social Security defines disability in terms of your capacity to work a simple, entry-level type of job. Basically you have to prove that the symptoms of your medical condition or conditions are so intrusive, that you cannot work at any job, full time.
As the person claiming disability you have to prove that you are unable to work – you do this by submitting medical records, and, even better, a functional capacity form completed by your doctor that identifies specific activity limitations.