4/30/2014, Social Security Ruling on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Evaluating Claims Involving Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

CFS is a systemic disorder consisting of a complex of symptoms that may vary in frequency, duration, and severity. In 1994, an international panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a case definition for CFS that serves as an identification tool and research definition. [2] In 2003, an expert subcommittee of Health Canada, the Canadian health agency, convened a consensus workshop that developed a clinical case definition for CFS, known as the Canadian Consensus Criteria (CCC). [3] In 2011, a private international group developed guidelines, known as the International Consensus Criteria (ICC), [4] for diagnosing myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). [5] Members of this international group and other medical experts consider ME to be a subtype of CFS. [6] We adapted the CDC criteria, and to some extent the CCC and ICC, when we formulated the criteria in this SSR. [7]

We consider a person to be “disabled” [8] if he or she is unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) [9] which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. We require that an MDI result from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities, as shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. [10] The Act and our regulations further require that the impairment be established by medical evidence that consists of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings; therefore, a claimant may not be found disabled on the basis of a person’s statement of symptoms alone. [11] In this SSR, we explain that CFS, when accompanied by appropriate medical signs or laboratory findings, is an MDI that can be the basis for a finding of “disability.” We also explain how we evaluate CFS claims.

6/12/2012, TMJ and SSA Disability Benefits


The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods for determining whether a claimant is disabled and unable to work. First, the SSA will determine whether or not the claimant has a condition which is so severe it meets or exceeds a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments. This listing, also called the SSA Blue Book, has all of the symptoms and diagnosis which the SSA considers automatically disabling and which do not allow the claimant to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

There is not a listing for TMJ on the SSA Listing of Impairments. This does not mean that you cannot prove that your condition is as severe as a condition which is listed, but it will be very difficult. Claimants who have suffered a severe trauma may be able to win SSDI or SSI if they have additional conditions, in addition to TMJ, that will meet a listing.

Reece v. Colvin (6/24/2014)


Sandra Reece was 46 years old on the alleged onset date and has past relevant work as a
molding machine operator, line worker, forklift operator, and meat cutter…

Next, the ALJ found that Reece had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) with the following limitations: Reece must have the option to alternate between sitting and standing very hour; she cannot bend forward from the waist; she cannot rotate her head to the right completely; and she cannot climb stairs, ladders, or ropes.

Those are quite a few limitations… What business would want to hire Ms. Reece?  What job doesn’t include bending forward from the waist?

At step four, the ALJ determined that Reece was unable to perform any past relevant work. At step five, the ALJ determined that, considering Reece’s age, education, work experience and RFC, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Reece could perform. Therefore, the ALJ determined that Reece was not disabled…

For the reasons set forth above, substantial evidence does not support the ALJ’s conclusion that Reece was not disabled. The Magistrate Judge recommends that the Commissioner’s decision be REVERSED AND REMANDED.