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Chronic Neuroimmune Diseases
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Last updated January 1, 2014

Social Security, CFS and FM

Compiled by Melissa Kaplan

The most important factor that people with CFS, FM, chronic pain, MCS and similar disorders have a problem understanding is that just being diagnosed with one of these disorders is not enough to qualify for disability. Instead, SSA looks for documentation of functional impairment. It is not enough that you cannot do your former job: the question is can you do any job and earn enough money to support yourself. (Note: what SSA considers "enough" to support oneself in reality hovers at or below the official poverty level, which, depending on which side of that level you fall on, may or may not make you eligble for Medicaid, HUD housing assistance, and food stamps.)


From Social Security Administration
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security:Medical criteria for evaluating Social Security disability claims (Known as "The Blue Book") Note: Despite the 1999 SSR rulings below, you won't find CFS or FM in this book - the book used by the SSA claims adjudicators who decide whether or not you are disabled.

SSR 99-2p: Policy Interpretation Ruling Titles II And XVI: Evaluating Cases Involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

SSR 95-5p: Policy Interpretation Ruling Titles II And XVI: Considering Allegations Of Pain And Other Symptoms In Residual Functional Capacity And Individualized Functional Assessments And Explaining Conclusions Reached

Revised Medical Criteria for Determination of Disability, Musculoskeletal System and Related Criteria; Final Rule. 20 CFR Parts 404 and 416

Technical Revisions to Medical Criteria for Determinations of Disability. 20 CFR Part 404

Providing Medical Evidence to the Social Security Administration for Individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Guide For Health Professionals

How We Decide If You Are Still Disabled

2002 Red Book on Employment Support: A Summary Guide to Employment Support available to People with Disabilities under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Programs (Known as The Red Book)

More SSA Disability Publications

SSA Homepage


From Other Resource Sites
Completing Disability Forms: Five Critical Tips to Keep in Mind for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Patients, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Winning Your Disability Case with the Help of Co-Workers, Family Members and Friends, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Winning Your Disability Case in Three Words…Frequency, Severity and Duration, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Winning Your Social Security Disability Claim: 15 Mistakes You Can Not Afford to Make!, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Five Crucial Steps to Winning your CFS Disability Case, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Disability Claim Killers - What you don't know could be fatal to your Fibromyalgia and CFS claim!, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

Why it is Important to Address Psychological Issues in your Chronic Pain Disability Case, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

How To Talk with your Physician about Supporting your Disability Claim, by Scott E. Davis, Esq.

See more articles on CFS/FM/Pain-related articles on disability by Scott Davis

Relation between neuropsychological impairment and functional disability in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1998 Apr;64(4):431-4. Christodoulou C, DeLuca J, Lange G, Johnson SK, Sisto SA, Korn L, Natelson BH.

Functional status in patients with CFS, other fatiguing illnesses, & healthy individuals. Am J Med. 1996 Oct;101(4):364-70. Buchwald D, Pearlman T, Umali J, Schmaling K, Katon W.

Fibromyalgia and the Disability Dilemma: A new era in understanding a complex multidimensional pain syndrome, by R.M. Bennett. From


Other Sites of Interest
The Patients' Bill Of Rights In Medicare And Medicaid
Chronicfatigue & Fibromyalgia
Job Accomodation Network (JANWEB)
For some reason, this site is frequently difficult to get through to. The URL is Alternate means of communication include direct mail, phone/TTY/fax, and email: Job Accommodation Network, POB 6080, Morgantown, WV 26506-6080; FAX 1-304-293-5407; V/TTY 1-800-526-7234 and 1-800-ADA-WORK in the United States; V/TTY 1-304-293-7186 Worldwide. Calls are answered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Thursday and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Machines answer after-hours calls.


Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
U.S. Department of Justice's ADA Site
Other ADA Information Resources




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