Is Fibromyalgia Classed as a Disability in the UK?

Fibromyalgia, also known as FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome), relates to a chronic condition which can generate pain all over the body. “The Government recognizes fibromyalgia as a real & potentially disabling condition. The Department for Work & Pensions perspective is in relation to state sickness & disability benefits” [1] If you believe that you might have fibromyalgia, then visit an Experienced Pain Specialist as soon as possible

So What Symptoms Does the Medical Term Fibromyalgia Cover?

The NHS states that: in addition to widespread pain, fibromyalgia symptoms can also include:

• Feeling increased sensitivity towards pain
• Extreme fatigue
• Stiffness in the muscles
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Issues with mental processes, e.g. concentration & memory. (This is referred to as ‘fibro-fog’)
• Headaches
• IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) – a digestive issue which generates bloating & stomach pain [2].

The Department of Work & Pensions’ Perspective

When it comes to working & benefits, the UK Government: “remains committed to enabling people to remain in or return to work where possible; & the ESA aim to provide additional help & support for people of working age with disabling conditions” [2]

However, the government acknowledges that not all individuals with this disability will be able to work, so to that end, the state sickness and incapacity benefits are available [1]. Yet in truth, after fibromyalgia sufferers have been officially assessed, a substantial percentage of applicants are turned down for PIP (money for those who have extra care needs or mobility needs). And in the case of appeals: “In the last four years, only 4% of all PIP decisions were overturned at mandatory reconsideration, and only 3% of all ESA decisions were overturned at this level as well. However, at the tribunal stage of PIP, a staggering 65% of appeals were overturned” [3].

Getting the Best Diagnosis & Treatment

These factors are crucial to your future, and to that end, going to see an experienced Pain Specialist who has a long track record in the field of treating fibromyalgia, is the wisest course of action. Prior to your appointment, which could be either in-person, or online, it is a good idea to compile a ‘Pain Diary.” This should be sectioned into separate days, so you can either purchase a day-to-view diary, or create your own one online. This will provide a structure for you to list the times when your symptoms are manageable, or at their worse. Be sure to note what you are doing at the time to cause these fluctuations. This record will prove to be a great help for your Pain Specialist.


[1]. Fibromyalgia Trust (2021). “DWP, Working & Benefits.”