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Social Security examines Fibromyalgia symptoms in SSR 12-2p

The Social Security Administration issues rulings which govern how administrative law judges (ALJ) handle specific medical conditions and evidence. Fibromyalgia, which our office first began to see diagnosed around fifteen (15) years ago and has been referred to as myofacial pain syndrome, chronic rheumatism, myalgia, muscular rheumatism, fibrositis, myofibrositis, and spinal irritation has finally been addressed by SSR 12-2p. SSR 12-2p implies that the symptoms and signs of fibromyalgia, such as widespread pain and fatigue, vary in intensity over time, so it is important to use longitudinal medical evidence to evaluate the claimant’s pain. The stated purpose of the SSR is to give guidance on how we develop evidence to establish that a person has a medically determinable impairment (MDI) of fibromyalgia (FM), and how we evaluate FM in disability claims and continuing disability reviews under titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). Per SSR 12-2p, an ALJ must take into account the fact that symptoms and signs of fibromyalgia vary over time and therefore there will be instances in the medical records where a claimant has worse pain than other times. Isolated medical records where the treating physicians indicates the claimant is “doing well” or “better” cannot be used to deny the claim. SSR 06-3p requires that information from nonmedical sources also be used to evaluate the severity and functional effects of a person’s FM. This information may help to assess the person’s ability to function day-to-day and over time. It may also help when we make findings about the credibility of the person’s allegations about symptoms and their effects. Read more about our North Carolina Board Certified Social Security Disability Attorney Susan O’Malley and our social security services at O'Malley Tunstall

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