Washington State Social Security Disability Law Blog

Washington State Social Security Disability Law Blog

Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender

The Trial Work Period–How does is apply to me?

Posted in After You are Awarded Benefits

Many beneficiaries of Social Security Disability (SSDI) are reluctant to pursue working due to fear that any income received will jeopardize their benefits. This reticence is perfectly understandable; however, the Social Security Administration has specially designed rules that will allow a disability benefit recipient to retain their payments while they attempt to return to work. It is a good idea to fully review the rules prior to accepting employment.

The 9 Month Trial Work Period (TWP)

The 9 month Trial Work Period (“TWP”) is designed to allow SSDI recipients to try working while still receiving their full monthly benefit. This is a 9 month period that is not necessarily consecutive, and can span a 5 year period. During these nine months, a person may earn an unlimited amount without losing or reducing their monthly cash benefit. The purpose of the TWP is to encourage disability recipients to go back to work when they can.

A TWP month is triggered whenever an individual earns more than $770 per month or when a self-employed individual works 80 hours in a month.

During your TWP, it is important to inform your local Social Security field office of your earnings for each month that you work. It is helpful to either visit the office in person, and have your earnings record copied and time stamped as proof of delivery. In the alternative, you may send your pay stubs via certified mail before the 10th day of month after the month in which you had earnings.

The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)

Once you’ve exhausted your 9 month TWP, the Extended Period of Eligibility (“EPE”) begins. The EPE is a 36 consecutive month period during which you’ll continue to receive your full benefit every month so long as you remain disabled and earn less than Social Security’s Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) threshold. In 2014, the SGA level is $1,070 for non-blind individuals and $1,800 for the blind.

If you earn over SGA in any month during the EPE, you’ll lose that month’s benefit, and it will also cause Social Security to find that your disability has “ceased.” Once that happens, you will be paid in full for that month and an additional two-month grace period before your benefits stop.

If you stop working, or your earnings fall below SGA again during the EPE, contact Social Security and your benefits will be reinstated without having to file a new application. When the 36-month re-entitlement period ends, your benefits will continue as long as you are medically disabled and not earning SGA. If you earn over SGA for even one month after the 36-month period of re-entitlement, your benefits will terminate. However, if your medical condition makes you stop working again, you may be eligible for “expedited reinstatement” of your benefits  if it’s within five years of the end of your EPE.

Impairment Related Work Expenses(“IRWEs”)

All of your monthly pre-tax earnings are applied to the TWP income threshold, but you may deduct any impairment-related work expenses that you pay for out-of-pocket. An IRWE is anything impairment-related that you require to enable you to work. This includes special equipment or medical supplies needed for mobility or transportation, or service-animal related expenses. Be certain to keep all receipts of your impairment-related expenses for submission to Social Security so that your earnings are properly calculated.

Work and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR)

Many disability beneficiaries also worry that attempting to work will lead to their benefits being terminated through a Continuing Disability Review (“CDR”). However, CDRs are generally conducted randomly by Social Security. While it’s possible for a CDR to occur during a Trial Work Period (or at any other time), a TWP by itself is not likely to raise a red flag with Social Security. If you do have a review, Social Security will look at your medical records, not your attempt at working, to determine if you are still disabled.

The Ticket to Work Program

If you’re an SSDI recipient wanting to work but unable to perform any of your past jobs, you may be eligible for free vocational rehabilitation or technical training through SSA’s  Ticket to Work program. Those participating in Ticket to Work will be evaluated at a vocational rehabilitation office, and a plan will be developed for the individual to try to return to the workforce. As an added incentive, Social Security agrees to not initiate a Continuing Disability Review of an individual in the Ticket to Work program.

 

 

 

 

Social Security Disability Benefits and Multiple Sclerosis

Posted in Neurological Disorders

For many illnesses, Social Security provides a definition for when it considers the illness severe enough to be disabling.  This definition is contained in the “Listing of Impairments.”  Multiple Sclerosis is found in Social Security Listing 11.09.   If you have multiple sclerosis, you will be found disabled under Listing 11.09 if one of the following exists:

1.  Disorganization of Motor Function defined as:  Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.

2.  Vision Loss defined as:    

  • Loss of visual acuity with:  the remaining vision in the better eye after best correction is 20/200 or less, or
  • Contraction of the visual field in the better eye with:  the widest diameter subtending an angle around the point of fixation no greater than 20 degrees; or an MD of 22 decibels or greater, determined by automated static threshold perimetry that measures the central 30 degrees of the visual field; or a visual field efficiency of 20 percent or less, determined by kinetic perimetry, or
  • Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment, in the better eye, with: a visual efficiency percentage of 20 or less after best correction; or a visual impairment value of 1.00 or greater after best correction.

3.  A mental impairment (such as memory impairment, emotional lability, or depression) with at least two of the following:  marked restriction in activities of daily living, or marked restriction in maintaining social functioning, or marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.

4.  Significant, reproducible fatigue of motor function with:  substantial muscle weakness on repetitive activity, demonstrated on physical examination, resulting from neurological dysfunction in areas of the central nervous system known to be pathologically involved by the multiple sclerosis process.

Even if your symptoms do not fit within any of the definitions above, you still may be found disabled under Social Security Regulation 96-8p if, due to your physical and mental limitations, you cannot sustain work activity for 8 hours day, 5 days per week.

Raising the Social Security Retirement Age: Another Way to Swindle the Working Class

Posted in Sound Off

The typical argument for raising the Social Security Retirement Age is that the population is living longer, so it no longer makes sense to retire at 67. Unfortunately, for lower income earners, this is not true. Even as the nation’s life expectancy has increased, a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the top of the income ladder.

According to King County Executive Dow Constantine there is a 10  year life expectancy gap between the zip codes with the highest income and the zip codes with the lowest income in King County:

The difference in life expectancy between the ten zip codes in King County with the longest life expectancy and the ten zip codes with the lowest is more than ten years. Likewise, a difference of more than $100,000 exists between the ten zip codes with the highest median household income and those with the lowest.

As a result, raising the age of retirement amounts to the government taxing lower income wage earners for longer, and using those taxes to fund the retirements of the highest wage earners. Maya Rockeymoore, president of Global Policy solutions has noted:

People who are shorter-lived tend to make less, which means that if you raise the retirement age, low-income populations would be subsidizing the lives of higher-income people … Whenever I hear a policymaker say people are living longer as a justification for raising the retirement age, I immediately think they don’t understand the research or, worse, they are willfully ignoring what the data say.

Lower income workers typically have little saved for retirement outside of Social Security.  By and large, they don’t have pensions or invest in the stock market. They have less money to save for retirement after their basic needs are met.  Retirement account ownership rates are closely correlated with income and wealth. Households that own retirement accounts have a significantly higher income and wealth—more than double the income and five times the non-retirement assets—compared to households that do not own a retirement account.  With income inequality growing, it is time to strengthen, not weaken, Social Security.

 

 

Good News for Veterans: Social Security Disability Process Expedited For Veterans With 100% VA Disability Rating

Posted in News

If you are a veteran and have a VA Disability Rating of 100%, the Social Security Administration announced today that it will expedite your application for Social Security Disability benefits.  Social Security Acting Commissioner Carolyn Clovin stated in a news release:

We have reached another milestone for those who have sacrificed so much for our country and this process ensures they will get the benefits they need quickly.

While we can never fully repay them for their sacrifices, we can be sure we provide them with the quality of service that they deserve.  This initiative is truly a lifeline for those who need it most.

Maryland Congressman John Sarbanes, who supported this measure, stated:

As the baby boomer generation ages and more veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan need care, this common sense change will help reduce backlogs and cut through unnecessary red tape so that our most disabled veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned.

To receive the expedited service, veterans must show Social Security proof of their 100% Disability Rating by providing their VA Notification letter.  Social Security cautions that a 100% Disability Rating does not mean that a veteran will be approved for benefits automatically.  This is because each agency has its own criteria for proving disability, so being found disabled under one program does not guarantee you will be found disabled under the other.  However in my experience, a 100% VA Disability Rating is very strong evidence that a veteran should receive Social Security Disability benefits.  

The Vocational Expert–why are they at my hearing?

Posted in Applications & Appeals

The Vocational Expert–who are they and why are they there?

It is important to remember that the standard applied by the Social Security Administration when evaluating your disability application is not just whether you can return to your past work, but in most cases it is whether there is ANY job that exists in significant numbers that you can perform despite your impairments. With this in mind, when you receive your hearing notice, you may see that a Vocational Expert (“VE”) has been requested by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) to testify at your hearing. The VE has special training concerning the labor market, and is familiar with what jobs are available as well as what skills are required to perform those jobs.

The VE’s testimony is important. In response to questions by the ALJ, the vocational expert gives their opinion about what jobs you can still do despite your functional limitations. The testimony of a vocational expert is critical because the VE’s opinion about your ability to work can be the determining factor in your case.

During your hearing, the ALJ will ask you questions about your past work including your job title and the types of tasks that you performed. The VE will use this information along with the Work History Report that you completed as part of your disability application to classify your past work.

The ALJ will then ask the VE a series of questions, called “hypotheticals,” which incorporate your age, education, past work experience, and your limitations to determine whether someone with your impairments could still perform any of your prior jobs. It is important to note that the VE does not determine what your limitations are, but rather, they are there to answer questions about jobs available to those with work related limitations. If the VE testifies that you are able to return to your past work, the ALJ will deny your claim. If the VE testifies that you cannot return to your past work, the ALJ will ask if there are other jobs that you can perform. The VE will then testify as to what jobs can still be performed by a hypothetical person who has the work-related limitations identified by the judge. The VE is required to state the job titles, their codes as listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, and the number of the jobs available in the region where you live. As with past work, if the VE testifies that there are still jobs available to your despite the limitations listed in the ALJ’s hypothetical, your claim will be denied.

Cross-Examination of the VE

Challenging the VE’s testimony that there are jobs that exist that you can perform is one of the most important parts of your hearing. Fortunately, you or your attorney are given the opportunity to ask the VE follow-up questions after the ALJ has finished their line of questioning. The objective here is to rule out the jobs that the VE stated that  a hypothetical person with certain limitations could do, often by including some limitations that the judge left out of the hypothetical. When questioned about the added limitations, the goal is for the VE to say that there are no jobs available that you can do.

To learn more about preparing for your disability hearing read Sandra Widlan’s post here.

Don’t Blow It – How Claimants Lose Their Social Security Disability Cases

Posted in Applications & Appeals

Do Not Talk To Your Doctor About Your Social Security Case. One of the most common mistakes that I see claimants make is they talk to their doctors about their Social Security case. You wouldn’t necessarily think this is a problem. However, doctors typically record patients’ “presenting complaints” in their medical chart. If you express concern about your Social Security case, your chart-note will likely say things like: “Patient worried about disability benefits.” Or: “Patient applying for disability benefits.” Social Security will obtain these medical records and might conclude that you are seeing the doctor because you are trying to get disability benefits – and not because you are sick. You may think this sounds unreasonable or unfair, but I have seen it occur time and time again. Therefore, my first piece of advice is: Do not speak to any healthcare provider about your Social Security disability case. The one caveat to this is: if your doctors raise the issue with you, then it is fine to answer their questions. But you should not initiate the conversation. Rely on your lawyer to obtain the necessary information from your doctor for your disability case. When you go to your medical appointments, you should focus on your symptoms and not your case. Anne Kysar gave similar advice in her blog post “Top 10 Mistakes SSDI Applications” but it bears repeating here.

Go To Your Doctor Appointments. I’m the first to admit: When I am sick there are times that I simply do not want to go to the doctor. Who wants to drag themselves out of bed, get dressed, travel to an appointment, and sit in the waiting room when you feel miserable? Do it. If you are unable to work due to illness or injury, then see your doctor. Social Security will obtain your medical records and if you have missed or canceled appointments, Social Security may conclude that the reason you didn’t make it to those appointments is because you aren’t as sick or injured as you say you are. Now if you don’t actually need to see the doctor, then don’t go. You shouldn’t waste your time or their time with unnecessary appointments. But otherwise, go to your medical appointments.

Go to the Consultative Evaluation. Social Security may send you for a physical evaluation, a psychological evaluation, or both with a doctor of their choosing. Sometimes the evaluation is very helpful and results in a claimant being awarded benefits. Sometimes the evaluation is not helpful. When it isn’t helpful, your lawyer should request reports from your doctors explaining your symptoms and limitations, since the law requires that Social Security give more weight to the opinion of your treating doctor than someone you see at the request of Social Security for a one-time consultation. Either way, you must go to the consultative examination. This is because, if you don’t go, Social Security will likely use your failure to cooperate with the examination as a basis for denying your claim. Linda Worthington previously wrote a very insightful blog post on consultative examinations which you can read about here.

Do your best at the consultative examination. Do your best at the consultative examinations and be honest. Some of the tests given at a consultative examination may be designed to detect if you are exaggerating or faking your symptoms. So treat the appointment like any medical or mental health appointment and provide truthful, accurate information.

Turn in the “Adult Function Report” and your “Work History Report.” Your claim may be denied for “insufficient evidence” if you fail to turn in these forms. It’s a hassle, especially when you feel lousy, but do it. If you need help, ask your lawyer for guidance. Anne gave great advice on filling out the Function Report  in a previous blog post which you can view here.

You have the Right to Remain Silent.  Consider exercising your right to remain silent. Remember the song America that some of us (including me) frequently sang in grade school: “My Country Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty for thee I sing.” Or what about our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner:

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

We do not live in a police state. We are not required to speak to the police just because they ask. If you have filed a Social Security Disability Application and receive an unexpected knock on your door from a detective with the Washington State Patrol, it might turn out that they are investigating you for Social Security Disability fraud. The detective may be considering: Do you look disabled? Do you sound disabled? Do you act disabled? This occurs in rare instances, but it does happen. And the officer won’t necessarily say that he is there because of your disability claim. So if an officer knocks on your door – even if he says he is there to investigate a report of identity theft in the neighborhood – you can politely decline to be interviewed. You are under no obligation to open the door and speak with the detective. You have this right because, as the songs say: this is the “sweet land of liberty” and the “land of the free.”  You can always consider giving the detective your attorney’s business card and asking the detective to contact your lawyer to arrange the interview. Sometimes, as the Four Seasons’ song from the 1960’s goes:  Silence is golden.

High demand, Low Control Unskilled Work Increases Mental Illness

Posted in Applications & Appeals, Mental Illness & Cognitive Disorders, Sound Off, Uncategorized

Social Security Judges frequently find that mentally ill applicants are not disabled because they can do “unskilled work with little public contact.”  These ALJs believe that unskilled work will be easy for mentally ill people to perform because these jobs are not intellectually or socially demanding.  While unskilled jobs may not require a lot intellectually, these jobs are very challenging in a host of other ways. Most “unskilled” jobs without public contact are “high demand” and “low control” jobs.  This means that workers have a lot to do and little control over how they do it.  For example, a small parts assembler is considered “high demand” because they have production goals that they must meet every day.  The assemblers have “low control” because they are told what to assemble, in what order to assemble it, and where they must do it.

A growing  number of employers are increasing workload and reducing worker control.  Journalist, Mac McClelland, went undercover at an Amazon fulfillment center warehouse and describes working conditions for “pickers,” the employees that gather the merchandise ordered online.  She describes a very “low control” work enviorment where she was told exactly what to do and how to do it.  In addition she had “high demands” placed on her.  Her productivity was monitored by the second and she was constantly being told that she needed to go faster.  She explains:

 My scanner tells me in what exact section—there are nine merchandise sections, so sprawling that there’s a map attached to my ID badge—of vast shelving systems the item I’m supposed to find resides. It also tells me how many seconds it thinks I should take to get there. Dallas sector, section yellow, row H34, bin 22, level D: wearable blanket. Battery-operated flour sifter. Twenty seconds. I count how many steps it takes me to speed-walk to my destination: 20. At 5-foot-9, I’ve got a decently long stride, and I only cover the 20 steps and locate the exact shelving unit in the allotted time if I don’t hesitate for one second or get lost or take a drink of water before heading in the right direction as fast as I can walk or even occasionally jog.

While “high demand,” “low control” jobs are difficult for most people, they are especially difficult for the mentally ill.  These jobs produce increased levels of depression, anxiety, pain and cardiovascular disease.  Researches explain the physiological reasons for this:

The putative mechanism underlying these associations is the stress hypothesis, for which excessive demands, low control over work, and low support raises arousal and leads to neuroendocrine and metabolic changes, distortion of homeostatic mechanisms, and disturbance of coagulation. Low control at work has been specifically linked to higher fibrinogen levels, a finding suggesting associations with inflammatory and even immunological processes raises arousal and leads to neuroendocrine and metabolic changes, distortion of homeostatic mechanisms, and disturbance of coagulation. Low control at work has been specifically linked to higher fibrinogen levels, a finding suggesting associations with inflammatory and even immunological processes.

As a result, when mentally ill people do get these jobs, they may be able to perform at first, but over a period of time, their depression and anxiety increases and they are no longer able to go to work.  I have had severely depressed clients who have lost these jobs because they became so depressed they attempted suicide.  I have also had clients who have lost these jobs because they have had panic attacks at work.  While a small parts assembler, a warehouse worker, or a hotel maid may be “unskilled” work, these jobs have unique sets of stressors making it inapproperiate for those with significant mental health problems.

Parkinson’s Disease and Disability–What you should know

Posted in Neurological Disorders

Parkinson’s disease, also known as Parkinsonian Syndrome, or PD, is a motor system disorder that primarily impacts an individual’s physical movement. Although tremors are the most well-known symptom of PD, the disease frequently manifests itself in the form of  severe stiffness, impaired coordination, speech changes, and in later stages, dementia. PD is a degenerative disease, so it may start with minor symptoms which become progressively worse. Although there is no cure for PD, there are several medications which can help to control symptoms, and in some cases surgery may be recommended.

Social Security Administration’s Medical Listing 11.06

If you are an adult who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) based on the criteria identified in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments 11.06, Parkinsonian Syndrome.

Currently, the SSA defines Parkinsonsian Syndrome as “significant rigidity, bradykinesia (extreme slowness of movements and reflex), or tremor in two extremities, which, singly or in combination, result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.”  Notably, this definition is over 20 years old, and it fails to recognize many of the  non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which may include speech impairment, difficulty swallowing, sleep disturbance, cognition deficits, depression, dementia, and pain.

Qualifying for Benefits Based on a Reduced Residual Functional Capacity

If your PD symptoms don’t meet the guidelines in the above listing, you could still potentially qualify for benefits if your symptoms prevent you from sustaining full-time competitive employment.

The Social Security Administration will review your medical records, your reports of your symptoms, and the opinion of your treating physicians. SSA may also send you to see a Consultative Examiner to obtain an additional medical opinion concerning the severity of your illness and related limitations.  You will then be assigned a residual functional capacity (RFC), which is the heaviest classification of work that the SSA feels you are capable of performing (such as sedentary, light, or heavy work.) The SSA will then consider your age, level of education, and prior work experience to determine if there are any jobs that you would be able to do on a consistent basis.

If you have other physical or mental conditions that impact your ability work, it is extremely important that that information is articulated in your application for benefits. Social Security will also consider those factors when making their determination.

Medical Evidence is Critical to Establishing Disability based on Parkinson’s Disease

If you’re applying for disability benefits due to Parkinson’s Disease, it’s essential that the SSA has access to recent medical records documenting your condition. Although they will take your testimony regarding your symptoms into consideration, it’s important that they have objective evidence that shows the severity of your condition. Your medical records should establish:

  • a specific diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease
  • documentation by your doctor concerning the nature and frequency of your symptoms, and
  • the results of neuroimaging tests confirming your PD diagnosis.

In addition to medical records, it’s important that you provide examples of exactly how your symptoms affect your daily activities, such as if you have trouble gripping or holding onto items due to tremors or stiffness. Be sure to provide any other relevant information such as negative side effects from your prescribed medications, and any depression or anxiety that you experience due to your PD.

Social Security Disability and Meniere’s Disease: What You Should Know

Posted in Uncategorized

What is Meniere’s Disease?  Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and hearing loss.  Meniere’s disease usually affects only one ear. 

What causes Meniere’s Disease?  The symptoms of Meniere’s disease result from the buildup of fluid in the inner ear which interferes with the normal balance and hearing signals between the inner ear and the brain.  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is no confirmed cause of Meniere’s disease, but there are many theories ranging from a constriction in blood vessels to autoimmune reactions. 

How is Meniere’s Disease Diagnosed?  Meniere’s disease is diagnosed based on a patient’s symptoms including:  at least two episodes of vertigo (dizziness) lasting 20 minutes or more, tinnitus, temporary hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear.  Frequently, a patient will undergo hearing testing to evaluate hearing loss and Videonystagmography (VNG) testing to evaluate balance.  Your doctor may decide to order an MRI or CT Scan to rule out other diagnoses. 

How is Meniere’s Disease Treated?  According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several treatment options to help control a patient’s symptoms, including vestibular rehabilitation therapy which helps the brain regain the ability to process balance information correctly.  If conservative treatment fails, and after discussing the potential risks involved, your doctor may recommend antibiotic or steroid injections into your ear or surgery.  Unfortunately, there is no cure for Meniere’s disease. 

Are there home remedies to treat Meniere’s Disease?  Eat regularly, limit salt intake, avoid caffeine and MSG, and manage stress and anxiety.

Can I work with Meniere’s Disease?  Your ability to continue working depends on the severity of your symptoms and whether your employer can accommodate the limitations imposed by Meniere’s disease.  The Mayo Clinic recommends sitting or laying down when you feel dizzy, resting after an attack of dizziness, and avoiding the risk of falling.  Because of this, your employer may need to provide you with additional rest breaks and allow you to take unscheduled absences from work, and also provide you with a work station that minimizes your fall risk. 

Do people with Meniere’s Disease qualify for Social Security Disability?  You may consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits if you become unable to work due to Meniere’s disease.  According to Social Security’s Listing of Impairments 2.07, you will be approved for disability benefits if you have a history of frequent attacks of balance disturbance, tinnitus, and progressive hearing loss, and:  (a) disturbed function of the vestibular labyrinth demonstrated by vestibular tests, and (b) hearing loss established by audiometry.

Fibromyalgia: Will a Blood Test Eliminate the Stigma?

Posted in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus & Multiple Sclerosis, Sound Off

Tuberculosis, epilepsy and diabetes were once considered character flaws.  The same is true today about fibromyalgia.  According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic widespread pain and other symptoms including fatigue, sleep disturbance and joint stiffness.  Fibromyalgia is stigmatized in our culture.  Many people wrongly believe that people with fibromyalgia are weak and lazy.   A recent survey from the American Osteopathic Association, shows that 59 percent of respondents delayed diagnosis or treatment because they worried they would be seen as faking or complaining.

Unfortunately, even some Social Security Administrative Law Judge’s have the same bias.  In 2012, Social Security issued a formal policy ruling explaining the evaluation of fibromyalgia.  The ruling explains that fibromyalgia can be established  so long as a physician has made the diagnosis according to medically acceptable standards including tender points and other symptom based evidence.  Once fibromyalgia is established, Social Security is supposed to treat the condition like any other illness. Unfortunately, even with the formal policy ruling, some ALJs continue to be skeptical and suspicious of claimants who suffer from fibromyalga.

There is hope that the stigma associated with fibromyalgia will end.  In October 2013, researchers presented evidence at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego of an “objective, very accurate and definitive” blood test for fibromyalgia.  The blood test is available now.  Unfortunately, the price tag is still very high – $744.  The test measures proteins in the body that reduce pain.  The test developers explained that 93 percent of the people who suffered from fibromyalgia were correctly identified, while 89 percent of people who did have the illness were correctly identified.  The test subjects included healthy people as well as those with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  This new test does constitute objective evidence which could constitute a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

This new blood test is a step in the right direction to showing the biological basis of fibromyalgia and eliminating the stigma attached to it.