Applying for Social Security Disability with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder that causes extreme exhaustion that doesn’t have an explanation for an underlying medical cause, and the exhaustion may become worse following physical and mental activity. However, it doesn’t get better with rest. Additionally, sufferers may also experience issues with memory and concentration, muscle pain and insomnia.

Scientists currently don’t understand what causes chronic fatigue syndrome, but theories for its causes include psychological stress and viral infections. Some professionals also believe that the syndrome could be caused by a combination of factors.



Unfortunately, there’s no specific diagnostic test to confirm chronic fatigue syndrome, so individuals with the illness may have to undergo a plethora of testing to rule out other issues that present similar symptoms. Once you do receive a chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis, treatment typically focuses on relieving symptoms.

Can People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome get Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has issued a ruling which recognized chronic fatigue syndrome as a legit medical illness as well as a disabling condition as long as individuals meet the requirements for Social Security Disability (SSD). This means they must not be able to work for at least one year.

The Social Security Administration said that chronic fatigue syndrome “constitutes a medically determinable impairment when accompanied by medical signs or laboratory findings.”

In order to get a Social Security Disability claim for chronic fatigue syndrome approved, you must prove that your symptoms prevent you from working, but this illness doesn’t garner automatic approval. Therefore, the Social Security Administration will review documents stating your symptoms and determine whether you can perform work as you did in the past. If they find you can’t do your old job, they will consider if there is any work you can do before making a decision.

The Social Security Administration may prepare a Residual Functional Capacity Assessment (RCA), which is a report stating how your condition affects how well you do certain job-related tasks. If the chronic fatigue requires you to take frequent breaks during the day to rest, most employers wouldn’t be able to accommodate this and it would be a challenge to perform the work. If pain and weakness are severe, it would be difficult to complete many tasks, such as carrying anything remotely heavy. Additionally, if you suffer from anxiety or depression in association with chronic fatigue, it could prohibit you from performing mental tasks on the job including concentrating or being able to interact with coworkers.

The Social Security Administration also counts on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate chronic fatigue syndrome cases. To receive a diagnosis, these symptoms must be present for at least six months:

  • Muscle pain
  • Frequent sore throats
  • Memory and/or concentration issues
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Sleep that isn’t refreshing
  • Headaches that are different from before developing chronic fatigue syndrome
  • A generally unwell feeling lasting 24 hours after exertion

It’s important to provide the Social Security Administration with copies of all of your medical records regarding your chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis. This includes lab tests results, doctor visits and reports, hospitalizations and all medications taken and their side effects.

Hire a Social Security Disability Advocate to Improve Chances of Approval

Because the process of filing a claim for Social Security Disability can be complicated and intricate, it’s best to hire a Social Security Disability lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. A Social Security attorney or advocate understands what is required by the Social Security Administration and has knowledge of how these cases work. They can offer advice and guidance to improve your chances of having your Social Security Disability claim approved.

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