Disability and ME/CFS

Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are able to work and have a job that is flexible and meets their needs. However, if you have CFS and are unable to work, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you decide to apply for disability benefits, your doctor can help you by keeping good notes and using a simple assessment tool to track your health status.

You can find out who can apply and how to apply on SSA’s Apply Online for Disability Benefits webpage.

SSA Policy for Evaluating Disability for Patients with CFS

The SSA policy for evaluating patients with CFS, SSR14-1p, was updated in April 2014. To find out more about the policy, visit the SSR 14-1p webpage.

Information for Healthcare Professionals

The SSA has a ME/CFS-related fact sheet for healthcare professionals. The fact sheet, “Providing Medical Evidence for Individuals with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) [PDF – 758KB]“, explains the definition of disability and what SSA needs from doctors when evaluating disability in patients with ME/CFS.

Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (Blue Book – September 2008)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has prepared an online guide Disability Evaluation Under Social Security to provide physicians and other health professionals with an understanding of how its disability programs are administered. The guide explains how these programs work and lists the kinds of information that health professionals can provide to help ensure sound decisions on claims. It also includes links to the Listing of Impairments that SSA uses as part of the disability determination process.