Rainbow at shoreline

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association, a 501(c)3 founded in 1985, exists to meet the needs of patients with CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) or FM (Fibromyalgia), their families and loved ones. The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association works to educate health-care providers and the general public regarding these severely-disabling physical illnesses. We also support patients and their families and advocate for more effective treatment and research.

Ed Swierczek, a senior claims representative for a company that assists disability claimants, in 2011 provided some good advice for fibromyalgia patients who are applying for Social Security.

According to Mr. Swierczek: "...it is still vital that patients let their doctors know about their symptoms at every visit...Let them know you are having muscle pain, let them know you are not getting restful sleep. Encourage your doctor to include in his or her physical examination the requisite tender point examination if you have not received one. This is important because the [Social Security] adjudicators want to see some evidence of clinical findings to help establish a diagnosis. Having the appropriate tender points adds further credence to the presence of FMS [fibromyalgia]."

Social Security's criteria for establishing fibromyalgia as a medically determinable severe impairment includes:

  1. Evidence of widespread pain for at least 3 months;
  2. Pain present on palpation in at least 11 of the 18 tender  point sites as identified by the American College of Rheumatology and the  Centers for Disease Control;
  3. Evidence of morning stiffness and/or stiffness after sitting for a short period of time;
  4. Fatigue is present.

At each visit your doctor should note each clinical symptom and its severity, so that a contemporaneous, written clinical record will be available to Social Security as evidence of the chronicity and severity of your illness and disability.

(Source includes insurancenews.net, 5/8/11)

Notice about names

The Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association would like to clarify the use of the various acronyms for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and  Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) on this site. When we generate our own articles on the illness, we will refer to it as ME/CFS, the term now generally used in the United States. When we are reporting on someone else’s report, we will use the term they use. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently using ME/CFS. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are calling the illness CFS.

Until there is consensus on a name for the illness, the Massachusetts CFIDS/ME & FM Association name will not change.