Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and Disability

Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome, affects around one million people in the United States. Despite this prevalence, researchers estimate that only 20% of those with the disease are diagnosed. This is due in large part to the lack of knowledge about what causes the illness. Scientists have still not identified a single cause or predictor for chronic fatigue syndrome. Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include extreme exhaustion, memory loss or difficulty concentrating, headaches, muscle or joint pain, and unrefreshing sleep.  Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome are unable to leave their bed due to extreme pain and symptoms can last for many months or years.  

Historically, chronic fatigue syndrome was often attributed to psychological factors and today is still commonly misdiagnosed as hypochondria. This makes chronic fatigue syndrome a particularly difficult illness upon which to receive disability benefits – despite the very real and debilitating nature of the condition.  Further compounding the difficulties is the ups and down of the disease, some days are better than others, without reason or explanation.

For more information see the recent Frontline episode about ME: 

Proving your chronic fatigue syndrome is severe enough to qualify for social security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) requires both ongoing medical care and detailed descriptions of how the fatigue impairs your daily activity.  Saying you experience ‘fatigue’ or ‘tiredness’ is not enough; explain in detail your level of fatigue and how this differs from the normal tiredness.  

If you are unable to work because of chronic fatigue syndrome, Viner Disability Law can help with your SSA disability claim.  Call now at 720-515-9012.