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    "I was so greatly pleased to have Kathleen as my attorney. She was so professional, and I could tell from our first interview that she really knew her business. She was very prompt in answering all my phones calls and any questions I had later in the process."

    — Brenda Freeman
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    • National Minority Mental Health Month July 29, 2016
      During the month of July, we commemorate National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month following the 2008 resolution by Congress. This resolution honors the legacy of Bebe Moore Campbell, an award winning African-American author, journalist, and teacher, who helped to destigmatize how minorities approach mental health issues in their communities. Based upon the 2000 […]
    • Raising Breast Cancer awareness in African-American women February 14, 2016
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    • Diabetes: How to win a social security disability case before an Adjudicator or ALJ December 10, 2015
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      Beginning in April 2015, the Social Security Administration (SSA) created new internal Hallex regulations requiring representatives to submit all existing evidence related to a client’s mental or physical impairments. In the past, representatives were not required to submit evidence that could adversely impact a client’s case. During hearings held at the Office of Disability Adjudication […]

How to qualify for social security disability benefits with Fibromyalgia

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is the type of medical condition that has been misunderstood by some Adjudicators at Disability Adjudication Services (DAS), as well as Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Thankfully, there is Social Security Ruling (SSR) 12-2p, which brings much needed guidance for SSA evaluators of this debilitating condition.

Two to five percent of the American adult population is afflicted with fibromyalgia, according to Dr. Richard Podell, who addressed SSR 12-2p at a recent NOSSCR (National Association of Social Security Representatives) conference. Dr. Podell mentioned how scientific studies reveal that fibromyalgia results from abnormalities of the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia is defined, in SSR 12-2p, as pain in the joints, muscles, tendons, or nearby soft tissues that has persisted for at least 3 months.

For a finding of a “medically determinable impairment” of Fibromyalgia, SSR 12-2p requires diffuse chronic muscle pain affecting four quadrants of the body in addition to the spine.Testing for this condition by nurse practitioners, internists, rheumatologists, etc. may include the application of standard pressure to 18 tender points (see SSR 12-2p for locations). A diagnosis of fibromyalgia is reached when pain occurs at 11 or more tender points on the right and left side of the body, as well as above and below the waist.

Under SSR 12-2p, in addition to a history of diffuse chronic pain, a claimant must have repeated occurrence of six (6) or more fibromyalgia symptoms including but not limited to chronic fatigue syndrome, poor restorative sleep, trouble concentrating or remembering, anxiety, depression, temporal-mandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), chronic migraine or tension headaches, chest pain, irritable bladder, numbness or tingling, nausea, ringing in the ears, Reynaud’s phenomenon, loss of taste or change in taste, shortness of breath, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Lastly, under SSR 12-2p, other disorders that could cause these repeated manifestations of symptoms or coexisting medical/mental conditions must be excluded. Adjudicators and ALJs should consider a longitudinal history of symptoms dating back at least 12 months before the date of the application.
SSR 12-2p further states that Adjudicators and ALJs must consider opinions of other acceptable medical sources such as psychologists and psychiatrists. Also, statements from laypersons such as family members, friends, past employers or SSA employees could be helpful in establishing symptoms and limitations of fibromyalgia according to SSR 12-2p. For additional information about how you can receive SSI, SSDI (DIB), DAC or Widow’s/Widower’s benefits for fibromyalgia, please contact the Law Offices of Kathleen M Flynn, LLC at 404-479-4431 or visit our website at