Can I Work With Colitis?

Social Security Disability for Colitis

If you suffer from colitis and it makes you unable to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits each month. Both ulcerative colitis and colitis are classified as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). When you have colitis, some or all your colon is inflamed, which causes small ulcers or sores to appear on your intestine’s surface. With the tendency to follow a pattern including remissions and exacerbations, most people experience comfortable periods followed by symptom flares.

The symptoms can be impairing, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, and rectal bleeding. You may even have a severe case that leads to even more severe symptoms and complications, including severe dehydration, colon cancer, liver disease, a hole in the colon, or profuse bleeding. Getting a diagnosis of colitis can be challenging, as it often involves exclusion by ruling out other disorders including Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer. It involves extensive diagnostic testing, such as CT scans, x-rays, stool samples, blood tests, and a colonoscopy.

Can I work with Colitis?

Impacting Your Ability to Work

Because of the severity of the symptoms you experience with colitis, your ability to work may be significantly impacted. The abdominal pain and chronic diarrhea makes staying in a single position long virtually impossible. Because of the nausea and fatigue, you cannot stand for long periods, bend or lift, or walk while carrying heavy items. It may be impossible for you to climb ladders or reach because of your weakness. You don’t want to have a job that requires climbing, standing, or moving frequently because of the increased dangers that you could encounter with your weakness.

If you suffer severe dehydration or bleeding, you will be extremely weak and tired. Surgical intervention is often required and that will prohibit you from lifting, carrying, bending, squatting, and reaching above your head. Frequent movements of the limbs can intensify the pain and discomfort while sometimes making you have the urge for more frequent bathroom visits. All these symptoms culminated can make work impossible regardless of your work duties.

Limitations for Specific Jobs

Of course, the inability to lift, carry, climb, and reach will keep you from performing heavy manual labor work, such as construction, manufacturing, utility work, agricultural positions, and from operating heavy machinery. Even the more skilled positions, such as being an educator or a sales representative are not feasible because of the chronic diarrhea, severe pain, and the need to frequently visit the bathroom and the need to reposition from standing to sitting.

Frequent bathroom breaks can impact sedentary work, such as recordkeeping, receptionists or data entry as well. The regular movements can intensify the pain and cause more frequent repositioning to be necessary. Blood loss, fatigue, and weakness can make you too tired to concentrate and focus on a repetitive task or checking paperwork repeatedly resulting in multiple work errors so you are unable to handle being a supply clerk or placing orders.

Applying for Benefits

While the actual disability claims process is lengthy and detailed, the initial filing for benefits is made easy and simple. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will let you make a toll-free call to their office at 1-800-772-1213 to start your application process over the phone. Another option would be to visit the SSA website and start the application online.

The third option is to schedule an appointment at your local SSA office and go in person to talk with a SSA employee and get the process started. Your claim can be denied twice, but you can appeal those decisions, the final step will be a hearing before an administrative law judge who will determine if you meet the requirements of the SSA to be approved for benefits.

To get your claim approved, you must provide detailed documentation and supportive evidence that shows you have been diagnosed with colitis, the treatments you have undergone and their results, the symptoms you experience and their severity, as well as any limitations or restrictions you have because of your condition. You should consult with a disability attorney to help you with your claim. Your odds of being approved for benefits increase significantly when you have an attorney working on your behalf.