CFS/ME Guide to Applying for Social Security Disability

How to Greatly Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved the First Time You Apply

  1. Kit Cat
    By Lily Silver
    Artwork by Elizabeth D'Angelo

    If you are sick and unable to work, applying for disability may be one of the smartest, bravest, and best things you can do to help yourself. It can bring stability, security, medical care and peace of mind into your future.

    It can also be a great help to your loved ones who may be worried about you or may be trying to care for you without support.

    Reading more and learning more and taking more steps is the best possible thing you could be doing right now. In my experience, and my observation, the people who learn and question and wonder and persist are the people who win their claims.

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    How Do I Know if I am Eligible to Apply?


    Most people are eligible to apply. If you've somehow gotten the impression that you might not be, don't give up hope just yet. Read more.


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    How to Get Started


    First steps and how to apply. Learn the best way to answer questions and how to describe the ways that CFS/ME keeps you from being able to work.


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    How to Greatly Greatly (Greatly!) Improve Your Chances of Getting Approved


    This is the most important part. Spend all your time here. Learn how to use the Social Security Ruling for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and how to use special function forms designed to document CFS/ME.


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    How to Kill Your Social Security Application


    Many people believe it's not possible to get approved for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or it's not possible to get approved in less than two years. Those people are wrong. Dead wrong.

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    How to Get Help


    Many people with CFS/ME benefit from applying for a caregiver program, or other kinds of assistance that can help you along the way.

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    How Long is This Going to Take?


    Typical timeline for typical disability application and everything that happens along the way.

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    How to Make Life a Little Easier


    Tips for a (slightly) easier life while applying.


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    How to Get a Lawyer or How to Not Get a Lawyer


    You don't need a lawyer at the beginning. You can get one if you want one. If your CFS/ME is very severe and you cannot fill out forms, a lawyer may be able to assist.

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    How to Survive Financially While Applying


    It's possible!


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    How to Experience Technical Difficulties


    Click here if you run into a problem with your application


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    How to Make Life Make Sense


    Learn more about the disability process and how everything works