Crohn's disease, also known as irritable bowel syndrome, is a serious autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the intestinal wall. Individuals with this disease may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, incontinence, rectal bleeding and abdominal disease. Individuals may also experience problems that stem from this disease like eye and skin disorders, kidney disease and arthritis.
Complications associated with the disease may interfere with a person's daily life and make it difficult to work. For this reason, some people with Crohn's disease qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The experienced Social Security Disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC can help you with every aspect of your claim for Crohn's disease. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to learn more.
Does Crohn's Disease Meet a Listing?
The foundation for any disability claim requires that the disability is severe enough to interfere with a person's ability to work and is expected to last more than a year or be terminal.
Crohn's is a chronic disease, so it is not usually difficult to establish the minimum time requirements to qualify for benefits. However, the severity of the condition varies with each individual.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a Blue Book of severe disorders that automatically qualify a person for disability benefits if he or she meets the requirements listed for a disorder. The Blue Book contains a listing for inflammatory bowel disease, which some individuals with Crohn's disease may meet. A person with this condition can qualify in one of two ways:
- The disease causes the obstruction of narrowed areas in your colon or small intestine with dilation and swelling. The condition must be confirmed by medical imaging or during surgery and must have resulted in hospitalization for intestinal decompression or surgery at least two times, 60 days apart, within the same six-month period; or
- You have at least two of the following symptoms despite continuing treatment that occurred within the same six-month period:
- Anemia with hemoglobin lower than 10g/dL present in at least two different blood tests administered a minimum of 60 days apart
- Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or lower present in a minimum of two blood tests at least 60 days apart
- Tender abdominal mass palpable during a physical examination accompanied by pain in the abdomen or cramping that cannot be controlled with prescription main medicines, which is documented in at least two doctor visits at least 60 days apart
- Need for supplemental nutrition through the use of a feeding tube
- Involuntary weight loss of at least ten percent, present on at least two occasions at least 60 days apart
- Perianal disease that includes a draining abscess or fistula and pain that cannot be controlled by medication and was present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart
Another possible listing that may apply for individuals with Crohn's disease the one listing 5.08 for weight loss due to a digestive disorder. To qualify under this listing, you must be able to show all of the following:
- You have lost weight despite receiving continued treatment by your physician
- The weight loss caused you to have a body mass index of less than 17.5
- A body mass index of less than 17.5 was measured in at least two evaluations 60 days apart within a six-month consecutive period
Can I Qualify for Benefits If I Do Not Meet the Listing?
Many people with Crohn's disease are too sick to work but do not meet the strict criteria required under these listings. In these situations, they may still be able to qualify for benefits if they are given a medical-vocational allowance. This approval is made after the following process:
- The SSA acquires the claimant's medical records and evaluates them
- The SSA provides a residual functional capacity (RFC) based on your age, education, work history and the limitations the Crohn's disease causes in your life
- The SSA determines that you are unable to perform your past work
- The SSA determines that you are unable to perform any other job
What Type of Medical Evidence Do I Need to Provide?
The SSA considers medical evidence from acceptable medical sources. The best source of information is typically from the physician who treats your Crohn's disease. Information from specialists is also helpful.
Your treating doctor may be able to prepare a statement that describes how your condition affects your life. He or she may fill out your RFC form and specify the limitations that you have regarding such functions as sitting, standing, walking, bending, lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling. He or she may include details about how often you would likely need to take a break and that these breaks may be unscheduled.
Additional medical documentation may include:
- Discharge summaries from hospital stays
- Reports from imaging studies
- Lab panel reports
- Colonoscopy and endoscopy reports
- Doctors' notes
- Hospital or surgical reports
If your claim is not supported by enough medical evidence, the SSA may schedule a consultative examination to gather more information.
Who Should I Contact for More Assistance?
Crohn's disease can be a debilitating condition that imposes significant limitations on your life and ability to earn a living. The Social Security Disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC are experienced at pursuing claims based on autoimmune and digestive disorders like Crohn's disease. We will put our knowledge to use to pursue benefits on your behalf. Social Security Disability benefits can help offset the costs of the medical expenses you incur because of this condition.
At Dayes Law Firm PC, we do not charge any upfront fees, and you only pay for our services if we successfully resolve your claim. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.