Social Security has published a new ruling on how Fibromyalgia will be evaluated. The new rule is found here: New Rule
The new rule does not seem to change all that much the evaluation of the impairment, at first blush. It offers two methods by which the Fibromyalgia should be evaluated. However, there is a durational threshold of symptoms for fibromyalgia that has to be met. Clinic notes and treatment notes that do not document the symptoms over time (“longitudinally”) are going to be problematic. The patient needs to be very specific about the symptoms and hope that the physician continuously documents the complaints, in detail. Doctors maintain clinic notes for treatment of the patient, which is a very different purpose than documenting symptoms for a Social Security Disability case. Social Security has been, always, pretty stubborn about recognizing the distinct purposes, which sometimes, thankfully, overlap, but sometimes do not.
This is a good thing for the people who suffer with Fibromyalgia. There are still, apparently, Judges who–let’s couch it in the most charitable light–“struggle” with the notion that a medical condition must be demonstrated by diagnostic testing, such as MRI’s and blood tests. This SSR should end the “struggles” of the Judges who resist acknowledging something that can’t be cut out by a surgeon.