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Can I Work With Colitis?

Colitis, also called Ulcerative Colitis, is a rare disease which affects the large intestines and colon. When you have ulcerative colitis, your colon is unable to absorb sufficient fluid from your feces. The result and the most common symptom of ulcerative colitis is diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis sufferers often have bloody diarrhea, and may have twenty or more diarrheic episodes in a day.

Other colitis symptoms include ulcers in the intestinal and rectal area, ulcers in the mouth, abdominal pain, arthritis in the major joints, eye ulcers, and anemia. Depending on the severity, there are a variety of treatment options available, though only removal of the large intestine has proven effective as an actual cure.

The extent and severity of colitis varies considerably from one sufferer to the next. When applying for Social Security Disability due to colitis, it is important to make sure that your doctor is very specific regarding the extent of your colitis. Even more important, make sure your doctor explicitly lists all physical restrictions caused by your colitis; including restrictions on sitting and standing and any special accommodations you would need to address the extent of your symptoms in a work environment (especially frequent diarrhea).

How Colitis Can Affect Your Ability to Perform Manual Labor

Symptoms such as abdominal cramping and arthritis pain can make heavy labor impossible. This generally isn’t too difficult to prove, though it does take some time. You will need to be able to show that you have been under a doctor’s care and that you have followed his instructions in trying to deal with any symptoms that hinder your ability to perform physical work.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to demonstrate clearly that you are incapable of sustaining any gainful employment of any exertion level. Jobs with low exertion typically require you to be able to sit (or stand) for extended periods of time. Often, colitis sufferers have difficulty sitting or standing for long periods due to diarrhea. Make sure your doctor documents all restrictions regarding how long you can sit, stand, and how much you can lift.

How Colitis Can Affect Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Labor

Sedentary labor requires little to no physical strain, but often requires manual dexterity or the ability to work with people. Many sedentary jobs also carry with them a certain level of stress. This is particularly true of sales or management jobs.

If your colitis affects the amount of time you can sit, or if your symptoms can be shown to be inflamed by stress (colitis isn’t caused by stress, but many sufferer’s symptoms flare up with stress) your claim is more likely to be accepted. Consider having an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer look over your claim or appeal before proceeding, as they will be able to help you and your doctors state your claim in verbiage that will most likely result in an accepted claim.

Don’t be surprised if your initial claim is denied. Colitis may or may not qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, depending on the severity and the effect the symptoms have on your ability to perform available work. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal, and should do so with the help of a Social Security Disability attorney.

Ulcerative colitis does sometimes go into remission, either on its own or with treatment. Expect to have your diary reviewed periodically once you have been approved for Social Security Disability due to colitis. If your condition improves, you will need to demonstrate, with your doctor’s help, why you are still unable to perform meaningful work in order to continue receiving Social Security Disability benefits.