If you have fibromyalgia, you know how painful and crippling it can be to suffer from constant cramps, aches, numbness and fatigue. And you likely know how hard it can be to convince others your invisible pains are real.
Fortunately, a recent breakthrough from the Indiana University School of Medicine may lead to a better measurement of your pain. Researchers at the school say they’ve found pain biomarkers in the blood that could allow doctors to create objective pain tests. Such tests wouldn’t relieve you of your pain, but they could help doctors regulate your medication more effectively and would likely strengthen any disability insurance claims you need to file.
The problems with fibromyalgia disability claims
Doctors and government agencies agree that fibromyalgia is real, but people who suffer from the disease often find their disability insurance claims denied. Some insurers specifically exclude fibromyalgia from their coverage, but many other denials are simply made in bad faith and in violation of ERISA law. Insurers often feel they can get away with such violations for several reasons:
- Fibromyalgia is complex and mysterious with symptoms that are also common to other health issues.
- People who suffer from fibromyalgia don’t necessarily show outward signs of the disease.
- Some companies say fibromyalgia is a mental health disorder and cap their disability benefits at 12 to 24 months.
- Doctors need to rely on the patient’s subjective reports of pain to make their diagnosis.
- There are currently no objective tests to show you have fibromyalgia.
Taken together, these facts encourage insurance companies to deny claims, even in cases where the Social Security Administration may have already awarded disability benefits.
Don’t settle for defeat
Insurance companies often believe they’ll get away with the denials. Many people give up when faced with proving their claims. But you have a right to your insurance benefits, and the insurer has a legal obligation to act in good faith. With the help of an attorney, you can fight back against unjust denials.