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Dr. David Bell's Disability Scale

Still the best disability scale for ME/CFS

  1. Cort
    Resource Type:
    Questionnaire
    This is a summary of a CFIDS disability scale from The Doctor's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by David S. Bell, MD, published by Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-40797-2. Dr. Bell treated people with ME/CFS for many years.

    100: Patient has no symptoms at rest, no symptoms with exercise; has normal overall activity; is able to work full-time without difficulty.

    90: Patient has no symptoms at rest, has mild symptoms with activity; has a normal overall activity level. The patient is able to work full-time without difficulty.

    80: Patient has mild symptoms at rest, symptoms worsened by exertion. Patient has minimal activity restriction noted for exertion activities only; patient is able to work full-time with difficulty in jobs which require exertion.

    70: Patient has mild symptoms at rest. Patient clearly notes some daily activity limitation. Overall, the patient functions close
    to 90% of expected, except for activities requiring exertion. Ability to work full-time with difficulty.


    60: Patient has mild to moderate symptoms at rest, with daily activity limitation clearly noted. Overall functions 70-90%. Patient is unable to work full-time in jobs which require physical labor, but has the ability to work full-time in light activity if hours are flexible.

    50: Patient has moderate symptoms at rest, and moderate to severe symptoms with exercise or activity. An overall activity level is 70% of expected. Patient is unable to perform strenuous duties, but can perform light duty, or desk-work 4-5 hours per day, requires rest periods.

    40: Patient has moderate symptoms at rest, and moderate to severe symptoms with exercise activity. The patient has an overall activity level of 50-70% of expected. Patient is not confined to house; is unable to perform strenuous duties, but can perform light duty/desk work 3-4 hours/day, but requires rest periods.

    30: Patient has moderate to severe symptoms at rest, and severe symptoms with any exercise. Patient has an overall activity level reduced to 50% of expected; is usually confined to house. Patient is unable to perform any strenuous tasks; is able to perform 2-3 hours of desk work per day, but requires rest periods.

    20: Patient has moderate to severe symptoms at rest; is unable to perform strenuous activity. Overall, activity levels are 30-50% of expected. Patient is unable to leave house except rarely, is confined to bed most of the day, is unable to concentrate for more than 1 hour/day.

    10: Patient has severe symptoms at rest, is bedridden the majority of the time. Patient has no travel outside of house. Patient
    has marked cognitive symptoms preventing concentration.


    0: Patient has severe symptoms on a continuous basis, is bedridden constantly, and is unable to care for him/her self.
    purheart and Dee4dogs like this.

Recent Reviews

  1. Dee4dogs
    Dee4dogs
    5/5,
    I've never seen anything like this before. It would be nice if Social Security was using this resource in their disability approval process. (I'm at 30.)