Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Social Security Disability
Inflammatory bowel disease is a very difficult condition to live with. There is no telling when the disease will act up and it goes without saying that the disorder interferes with an individual's quality of life and ability to perform normal, everyday activities. Understandably, many of the individuals who suffer from this condition are unable to maintain employment. Without a means of income and mounting disability-related medical bills that continue to pile up, the financial burdens can become quickly overwhelming. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can help many of the people who suffer from this condition. If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and are wondering how your condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance, the following information will help.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Condition and Symptoms
Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD, is a term given to a broad range of disorders that cause inflammation of the digestive tract. Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis are just two of the conditions that are included in the spectrum of IBD conditions.
The symptoms of IBD can vary depending on the specific disorder that an individual is suffering from and the severity of the condition. Common symptoms include abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, fever and weight loss.
Those who suffer from inflammatory bowel disease normally suffer periods of intense flare-ups and periods of remission. When a severe inflammation occurs, the disease is considered to be active. When the inflammation is less severe or nonexistent, the disease is considered to be in remission and symptoms are not present. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell when the disease will flare up or when a remission will offer relief.
There is no cure for IBD, although treatment is available to help reduce the frequency and severity of flare ups. Unfortunately, many of the people who suffer from the condition are unable to work due to the symptoms it causes. If you are suffering from IBD and the symptoms are preventing you from maintaining employment, you should consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Inflammatory Bowel Disease
When you file an application for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will refer to a listing of disabling conditions referred to as the “Blue Book”. Inflammatory bowel disease is covered in these Medical Listings under Section 5.06. In order to qualify for benefits under this listing, your IBD must meet specific criteria. A diagnosis of IBD alone is not enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, contrary to what many believe.
According to Section 5.06 of the disability guidelines, an individual may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to IBD if the condition is documented by an endoscopy, biopsy, operative findings or medical imaging. An obstruction of the stenotic areas must also be present in the small intestine or colon with proximal dilatation requiring hospitalization for intestinal decompression or surgery and occurring on at least two occasions at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period.
According to Section 5.06 of the Medical Listings, two of the following conditions documented within a consecutive six-month period may also qualify an individual for benefits from the Social Security Administration:
Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10.0 g/dL, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart.
Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart.
Clinically documented tender abdominal mass palpable on physical examination with abdominal pain or cramping that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart.
Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula, with pain that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart.
Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline, as computed in pounds, kilograms, or BMI, present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart.
Need for supplemental daily nutrition via a gastrostomy or daily parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Your Social Security Disability Case
The Social Security Administration only approves approximately 30 percent of the initial claims received each year. If your case of IBD meets the above-mentioned criteria, it is likely that yours will be among them. However, if there is any question regarding whether or not your condition meets the specific SSA guidelines, you do not have enough medical evidence or there is question regarding your inability to work; you will likely be denied during the initial application process and will need to pursue the Social Security Disability appeal process.
The disability appeal process can be lengthy and complex, likely involving a Social Security Disability hearing before an administrative law judge. It is imperative that you have proper legal representation at this hearing. While two-thirds of appeals are won at the hearing stage of the appeal process, your chances of a successful hearing outcome are significantly higher with proper legal representation. This is why you should consult with a Social Security Disability lawyer as soon as possible.
To learn more about hiring a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate or to obtain a free evaluation of your disability claim based on a diagnosis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), simply fill out the form.
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