Work, LTD, Disability and Fibromyalgia

Hi all, I am new to the group and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 2 years ago. I've been working as a senior project manager successfully for over 10 years. My fibro symptoms have been steadily getting worse coupled with depression and chronic fatigue. I was off work on LTD for a year and returned only to find I could not function very well in the work environment. The drive in was painful on my shoulders and neck and sitting at the computer at work didn't help. It felt like my neck could no longer support the weight of my head. Intense burning and shooting pains would occur and my arms and fingers would start tingling and go numb. Fibro fog has been at it's worst and is probably the most worrying for me. work pretty much told me I was no longer productive and I should go on LTD again until I am able to work successfully full time. I wanted to stay on part-time or a few days a week but my employer could not accommodate this request. My previous LTD case is closed so now I have to appeal to get it re-opened. Does any one have any experience with all this? I am seeing a Psychiatrist (and taking meds for the depression/anxiety), getting regular physio and massage (which provides immediate relief only) and am still waiting to see a Rheumatologist.

If anyone has any advise, I'd really appreciate it!

I'm so sorry to hear you're going thru all of this. It's a rough road. Glad that you have doctors and therapy though. While I do not have answers for your questions, I am curious to see what others input is, as I am in a somewhat similar situation. I would like those with experience and knowledge about disability, etc, to also comment on what a person does if they are too young for social security, and don't qualify for ss disability. It's a dark hole we fall in to!

I worked for the state, so my last job did not put in to social security 'within the last 5-10 yrs', per their rules. Is there anything I don't know about that I might qualify for, as far as disability? This is very scary. Thanks. Good luck to all of us.





I can no longer work a full day and can not be on my feet all day. I still work part time(20 hours per week). I am now experiencing fibro fog. It is a scary situation, especially when you work in an office and can't rember things or turn your numbers around. It has caused me a lot of trouble in the past few months. I went to a neurologist and he told me he doesn't believe in Fibromyalgia, great. He has ordered all these tests that I don't have money for. He did tell me that my pain doctor does. I am glad to know this. I am 55 years old and not able to retire yet, so if this gets worse I'm not sure what I am going to do either. I will work as long as I possible. Then take things as the come, I guess. Sue

Hi SimmySim, I can relate to your work as I was a project manager and half-owner of a software development company. As you did, I worked in an environment with computers for a lot of my day. The remainder was dealing with people. I did leave my job 10 years ago due to my inability to manage the workload and then returned to work in a clerical capacity with one of my clients about three years later. I was slowly going down-hill when I broke my arm and had a bad flare. I too was seeing someone for depression and anxiety and was prescribed by my Rheumy just about all of the medications that are applicable. After 3 years of drugs and a hospitalization (due to reactions to the meds - Lyrica), my Rheumy and I thought it was best for me to be off everything. Now, I am taking a single gravol at night to help with my gastritis and IBS - it also helps with the insomnia (a tiny bit). I would say, that you should re-open your LTD case, get updated medical information and retire from the working world. My experience has been one of a roller-coaster of feelings about not being able to continue my career. At this time, I am happy to report, that I am adjusting to being a 'home-body'. I am learning to cook differently (due to allergies) and am learning to take care of myself better. Yes, it has taken me over 10 years! Coming to grips with being permanently disabled was a huge ego blow for me. I am able to do about 40 percent of what I used to do - self-care, sewing, sitting at the computer etc. I have taken classes in Mindfullness Meditation, Anger Management, Time Management, Grief councelling, dietary councelling, warm pool exercises, physio - you name it - I've probably tried it! My days are much more relaxed (not that I wanted that so much). I wish you the best in your changing situation and hope that you manage your transition well!

Hi, I am on SSDI now and I remember when I was first realizing I couldn't work any more. It wasn't an easy process but was necessary. In my case, the fibro was likely caused by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which i was born with but not diagnosed until recently. It's a genetic connective tissue disorder that causes the body to make bad collagen. I know we all feel we are supposed to work but sometimes we just can't. I hope you get things settled and hope the process of getting the LTD approved goes smoothly for you.


Susan W

Hi, I was just wondering did your long term disability end after a year ? Or why did you go back to work ? I mean, obviously I understand wanting to try and work… This stinks not being able to work… I was on short term disability for 6 months, now I’m on LTD, and they are saying I have to apply for SSDI, as of now my LTD is approved for a year, but I’m not sure if it can be extended or does it end after a year ?? Iv been afraid to ask. Kinda needed to give my brain a break from all this disability fight.
I know the way I feel right now, I could not work, did you find that after a year off, you felt better to go back too work ?
Hope it all works out, not sure I helped at all, the whole disability process can be so exhausting, but many say its worth it.
Hugs & blessings

At a later date (when I have a bit more strength and am not so fatigued), I will address your question about LTD. But for now, I want to respond to one sentence in your posting -

Whatever you need to do, GET THEE TO A RHEUMATOLOGIST, NOW, IF NOT SOONER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When can you work for the state and not pay into SS

Hi. At state hospitals.

I agree with Marc that you must get to a Rheumatologist asap. It is sad but it seems that the last thing most of us want to do is visit with another doctor...but we have to just to get someone to finally help us get the disability we deserve. My doctors don't seem to think that I can't work even though it is a struggle sometimes just to get out of bed. I am fortunate that I am able to collect Social Security this year. I had planned on working at least 2 more years but don't think I can make it. Basically Simmy what you need is documentation of all your medical issues and a doctor that will state that you are unable to work due to your condition. A friend of mine got disability really easy. She applied online for SSDI and someone called and asked her if she could do the job today that she was doing 6 months ago and she said no. They contacted her doctor and he agreed, and bingo she had disability. I sure wish it was that easy for everyone. You may have to contact a Disability attorney and get some advice from a professional.

I wish you better days and keep us posted.

your story is very similar to what I went through. If you go on LTD you can't work at all, even PT. You need to be out of work for 6 months before you can apply for SSDI. I was also a senior IT project manager and my position required extensive travel. There was no way I could continue to work. I found a lot of help at the Disability Digest website. The guy who runs it, Brian Therrein if very helpful.

Nancy M

Hi dee, actually it was the insurance company that pushed me to go back and they just came up with a date and said they would stop paying LTD if I didn't go. They completely ignored my doctors recommendation that I was not ready. I have had depression before and after 6 months off work I felt I was ready to go back, but this time with fibro, there was no improvement in my condition...infact I felt I was getting worse. It was very hard for me to go back and then fail at what I was doing. My fibro fog is so bad now that it's embarrasing. Being an IT project manager and mother of 4 successfully multi tasking to a person who forgot how to spell her own son's name is v. traumatic. Will I ever be the same person again?

Dee, I think my insurance company said I was eligible for 4 years of LTD but for depression or fibro, they have their own timelines set and expect you to get better by 6m - 12m. I will now have to appeal to get me case open again and they want my dr to provide 'new' info in order to approve the LTD.

Well, that's it for now.

thanks...will look it up. All the best.

thanks Ginny

thanks and all the best to you.

I will certainly try and see one sooner. All the best

Im glad that I am not the only one dealing with this right now. I have been a nurse for 16 years and completed my Masters 2 years ago. Not long after that though my pain and fatigue intensified and I have not been able to work. The fibrofog has really affected my life as well. I forget to pay bills, I have ofoverdrawn our checking account because I failed to writed down bills that I had paid. I have to write down every little thing or I won't remember it. I use a weekly pill dispenser as well because I often don't remember whether or not I took my meds. Numbers and passwords that I have been using for years I now get all confused when trying to remember them. I cant sit or stand for long periods of time and I havent driven in over 2 years because my right leg goes numb and I can't feel the pedals. In addition, Ive been having issues with falls over the past 2 months or so. I have been out on LTD for the last year and a half. I have applied for SS twice and have been denied. I do have a disability attorney and have since the first denial. It really irks me when i get the denial letters and they say that I am getting denied bec ause of my age, educational status, and they think that I am able to do some type of meaningful work. I have a hard time managing to care for myself on a day to day basis let alone caring for someone else. A rep from LTD had the nerve to ask me why i didn't just take a nursing instructor position. Okay, besides the intense pain and chronic fatigue, I can't drive and my mind is not working properly. Who in their right mind would want me as their nursing instructor??? Ugh!!! Its so frustrating...I am in the process of waiting for a date for my court appeal which I am extrememly nervous about...

Hi Tambina, I understand exactly what you're going through. The fibro has made me a physical, emotional and mental wreck. Do let me know how it goes and all the best to you.