Chronic Fatigue

Anyone suffering from CFS (or ME, CFIDS, fibromyalgia, and related diagnoses) knows of the controversy surrounding this disease process, with many people disparaging the disease and those who suffer its debilitating, but still mysterious, effects. Because its cause is still unknown (despite many theories that center around dysfunction in the immune system or post-viral infection effects), there is no definitive test that can be given with certainty. And this is what makes proof of the disease, let alone proof of its severity, a challenge when applying for disability benefits.

Because CFS is not a condition that can qualify a person for automatic approval of disability benefits, Social Security will consider the proof we present, to determine if you can still perform your past work, or any other work. So to win your claim for disability, we must prove to Social Security that the symptoms of your CFS are severe enough to prevent you from working.

Disability examiners are interested in seeing medical exams that show identification of a sufficient number of the common symptoms of CFS. And evidence of frequent visits to a doctor, in an effort to try to at least alleviate the disabling fatigue and exhaustion and pain, can help provide proof that the impairment is severe enough not just to merit a diagnosis, but is severe enough to prevent you from working. These symptoms are usually well known to CFS sufferers, and can include the following:

• swollen or sore lymph nodes on physical examination;
• sore throat without exudate (fluid);
• ongoing muscular pain exhibited during repeated examinations;
• the presence of positive tender points;
• positive test for Epstein-Barr virus;
• abnormal MRI;
• abnormal exercise stress test; and
• abnormal sleep studies.

CFS cases are, frankly, one of the hardest to win. It is a difficult disease to document clinically. Medical tests and laboratory results do not reflect the degree of the illness. Many doctors either do not "believe" in the disease, or simply believe there is nothing they can do for you based on the current state of medical science. Putting together a winning case for a Judge's review can be difficult for anyone.

Give my office a call and schedule a time to talk to me about handling your disability case. The initial consultation is free. You can come by to see me, or if you prefer we can schedule a time to talk over the telephone.