Crohn's Disease and Social Security Disability

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Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. While Crohn's disease can affect any part of the GI tract, it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine, called the ileum, where it joins the beginning of the large intestine or colon. Crohn's disease primarily causes breaks in the lining of the small and large intestines (ulcerations), but it can affect the digestive system at any point from the mouth to the anus. In severe cases, bowel obstructions and perforations may occur.

Symptoms range from mild to severe. The inflammation extends deep into the intestinal lining and can cause pain and make the intestines empty frequently. Symptoms of Crohn's include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, fever, reduced appetite, and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms often fluctuate between periods of inactivity (remission) and activity (relapse). It can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and to another type of IBD known as ulcerative colitis.

Acute flare-ups of Crohn's disease are treated aggressively to achieve a remission. Once remission is achieved, treatment usually includes antibiotics for infections and anti-inflammatory drugs to control inflammation. Severe Crohn's cases may require multiple surgeries to control or maintain remission of the disease.

Crohn's Disease and Social Security Disability Eligibility 

It is possible for an individual suffering from Crohn’s disease to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits, as Social Security considers Crohn's disease to be a significant impairment that may prevent an individual from performing substantial work. Crohn's disease is evaluated under inflammatory bowel disease 5.06 in the listing of impairments published by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

To qualify under the IBD listing, you need to be diagnosed with IBD, your symptoms must be advanced and you must show severe complications, such as untreatable anemia, a bowel obstruction, an abscess or fistula, significant, unintentional weight loss (of more than 10% of your body weight), or a tender abdominal mass with pain and cramping. It is important that your symptoms and complications are well documented by your doctor.

If you don't have one of the required complications, you will have a more challenging time qualifying for benefits. SSA will look at your symptoms and limitations they cause in your ability to work. Crohn’s disease may cause frequent diarrhea, which means you must be close to a bathroom at all times. This makes it hard to leave your home, let alone go to and stay at work. Fatigue and muscle weakness may also impact your ability to sustain activity. SSA looks at your age, education, work history and your medical records. You may qualify if you can show that your symptoms make it impossible to work your prior job, and that with your job skills and education, there are no other types of jobs you could learn to do that you would be capable of doing.

Applying for Social Security Disability With Crohn's Disease

If your or a loved one has Crohn's Disease and believe you qualify for Social Security Disability, contact our Social Security Disability Lawyers.

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