I'll try to explain briefly, but thoroughly, of what I did to get approved the 1st time when I applied for ss. First, I did have an attorney, but only for advice. He told me to go ahead and apply, and I think he assumed I would get turned down and that was when I was to call him again. Anyway, the biggest and most important thing I did was document everything! I kept a diary of my daily pain. When I had doctor appts, I prepared A History of My Pain. You know how when you see your doctor and you can never think of things to say...well, I wrote all mine out ahead of time. Day by day details of how I hurt, where I hurt, how it was affecting my job, how it was affecting me emotionally, but most importantly...how the drugs I was taking was affecting me--in every detail--from grogginess to lack of concentration to zombie-like to totally stoned. This is also important because now your doctor has your documentation in his/her file. How many of your doctors will actually write down everything you tell them? This way, they have it. And how often do you remember to tell your doctor everything? My biggest problem was that I might be feeling good on the day I saw my doctor, but that is one day among thirty in a month when I might only feel good. So I neglected to tell my doctor everything. I did a lot of online research too. I found the articles written by Scott Davis to be Very helpful. I followed all his examples to the letter. I filled out my own disability papers. I have no other health conditions other than a very bad back for which I need a spinal fusion. I also had four people--my best friend, my sister, a co-worker and my supervisor send letters on my behalf. And again, I had them read the recommendations of Scott Davis and they filled out the paperwork accordingly. I did not have any exams, nor any kind of hassle from ss. In fact, I expected to be turned down just like everybody else and I assumed I would need to use the attorney to help me win my case. I live in Omaha, Nebraska and I work at Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company...and I have been in disability from Mutual for the past six months also. And I don't even think Mutual recognizes fibromyalgia as an actual disease or illness. But I had doctors on my side---rheumatologists, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, psychologists, and yes, even a psychiatrist. Plus I've had years & years of treatment. I am 49 and I was diagnosed in 1998, but I suffered for many years before that. How many doctors have you gone to? I'm sure you've done the same...doctor after doctor. And I remembered every physical therapy that I went to, all the chiropractic appts, even acupuncture. You have to be very thorough in your dates of treatments and where & with who when you fill out the paperwork. And when I couldn't remember exact dates, I called the providers & asked to talk to someone in medical records, and they looked it up for me. I called social security in September and told them I wanted to apply. I was told someone would call me back and we set up a time of when they would call. Sure enough, I got the phone call at the exact time they said they would call. The man was very helpful explaining details of disability, etc. and he looked up by my ss# and told me how much I would get if I was approved and that February would be the starting date of my disability. I received the paperwork probably two or two and a half weeks later. But like Scott Davis said...do not concentrate on your pain!!!!, but concentrate on how it has affected you and your lifestyle...how you react with the medication...how it leads to lack of concentration thus poor job performance or inability to even work. It took me about a week or two to fill out the app. I sent it back in, and then I received another form to fill out, but this one concentrated on me and my daily activities, and meal preparation, laundry, keeping clean...you know, how you can or cannot do your daily activities. I am alone, so I have a lot of microwave dinners and I only do laundry once a week. But house cleaning, stairs, yardwork--all these things were getting increasingly difficult to do and I have to rely on friends and neighbors. This was also the time they requested names of four people that they could contact on my behalf. I think this is what really helped me. And of course, Scott's article: "Winning Your Disability Case with the Help of Co-Workers, Family Members & Friends". A few of his other articles were: "Completing Disability Forms: Five Critical Tips to Keep in Mind for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia Patients"; "Disability Benefits and Fibromyalgia: Getting Your Ducks Lined Up"; "Obtaining Disability Benefits: How and When to Talk to Your Doctor"; and finally, "Winning Your Disability Case in Three Words...Frequency, Severity & Duration". You will never know the relief of being accepted until you are accepted, but You have to Prove your Disability. And I think I did it with very thorough documentation. I also emailed Scott Davis and thanked him for all his help with his articles. I hoped I was able to answer some of your questions, and if you have any more please don't hesitate to contact me.