Social Security has recently released a new ruling and a new regulation.
SSR 12-2p goes into effect immediately and gives guidance on the evaluation of Fibromyalgia cases.
Specifically, this ruling gives us requirements on what is needed to show Fibromyalgia as a medically determined impairment. There are now two ways to prove Fibromyalgia
A. History of widespread pain and axial skeletal pain persisting at least 3 months, 11 of 18 tender points positive by palpitation at 9 pounds of pressure, and evidence that something else is not causing the symptoms.
B. a history of widespread pain and repeated manifestations of at least 6 Fbromyalgia symptoms including fatigue, waking unrefreshed, IBS, cognitive or memory problems (fibro fog), depression, anxiety, and other symptoms listed.
This SSR helps clarify what Social Security is looking for in Fibromyalgia cases and tells us exactly the type of information we need to get from your treating doctor.
The new regulation released deals with allowing adjudicators to skip step 4, in cases where past work is not fully developed, to make vocational decisions at step 5.
This rule goes into effect on August 24, 2012. What does this rule mean for you? It means that if you can’t describe your past work, do not turn in your work history packets to SSA, or they otherwise have insufficient information about your past work, they will not wait to get that information to decide your case (or deny you because they lack this information). They will move on to the next step. Only if step 5 would result in a favorable decision will SSA return back to step 4 for further development. In practice, this means that Social Security can bypass fully developing your past relevant work and issue a denial at step 5. This regulation only applies to initial and reconsideration levels.