Crohn’s Disease affects more than 500,000 people in the United States alone. The condition can cause painful and debilitating symptoms. While the symptoms can be treated, there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease and the condition may become worse over time. Because of this, many of the people who suffer from Crohn’s Disease are unable to work. The lack of income resulting from this fact can be financially devastating. In some cases, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you have been suffering from Crohn’s Disease and are unable to work due to the condition, you may be wondering if you qualify for disability benefits. The following information can provide you with the guidance you need when filing a Social Security Disability claim.
Crohn’s Disease - Condition and Symptoms
Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation to the digestive tract lining. This inflammation can lead to severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled diarrhea and, in severe cases, even malnutrition. The inflammation and irritation caused by the condition often spread deep into the tissue of the bowels.
Individuals suffering from Crohn’s Disease face intense intestinal cramps and explosive diarrhea. Bouts of diarrhea are the most common complication for people who suffer from the condition. This is caused by inflammation to the affected areas of the intestine. This inflammation results in the secretion of water and salt into the intestine. The colon is then unable to completely absorb the excess fluid, causing the diarrhea to occur.
People who suffer from Crohn’s Disease also commonly experience bloody stools, ulcers, reduced appetite and weight loss. In severe cases of Crohn’s Disease, fever, fatigue, arthritis, skin disorders, eye inflammation and inflammation of the bile ducts or liver are not uncommon.
The causes of Crohn’s Disease remain unknown. The school of thought used to be that the condition was caused by poor diet and stress, but research has indicated that this is not the case. Doctors are now leaning towards genetics and immune dysfunction as contributing factors to the condition.
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s Disease, but treatments are available to help alleviate the symptoms of the condition. In some cases Crohn’s Disease may even go into remission. Treatment for Crohn’s Disease can include medications that stop the inflammation of the intestine, aminosalicylates, antibiotics, and corticosteroids.
Because there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease and the symptoms can be so severe, many of the people who suffer from the condition are unable to work because of it. If you are suffering from Crohn’s Disease and are unable to produce an income due to your condition, you may want to consider applying for Social Security Disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Crohn’s Disease
When you file an application for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will refer to a listing of impairments referred to as the “Blue Book”. Unfortunately, Crohn’s Disease is not listed in SSA's Blue Book listing of impairments. That does not, however, mean that you cannot receive disability benefits based on a claim due to Crohn’s Disease. An individual suffering from Crohn’s Disease may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under Section 5.06 of the impairment listings, which covers inflammatory bowel disease.
In order to apply for disability benefits due to Crohn’s Disease, you will need to obtain a professional diagnosis from a qualified physician. In order to diagnose you with the condition your physician may run a battery of medical tests including blood tests, a colonoscopy, fecal occult blood tests, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, a barium enema, small bowel imaging, CT scans and a capsule endoscopy.
Once you have a firm diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease you can file your application with the SSA for disability benefits. When submitting your application you will want to make sure that you provide medical records, treatment history and any supporting evidence that could help your claim. Your application for Social Security Disability benefits will be stronger if your medical records indicate how your condition interferes with your ability to work, so make sure you discuss these issues with your doctor during your office exams.
Crohn’s Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case
It is important to remember that the SSA only approves about 30 percent of initial Social Security Disability applications they receive. Because Crohn’s Disease does not have a specific listing in the SSA's Blue Book, your chances of being approved at the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process may be less. That does not mean, however, that you will not qualify for disability benefits. It only means that you will likely need to file an appeal to receive the Social Security Disability benefits you may be entitled to.
When applying for disability benefits, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer. A Social Security Disability attorney can improve your chances of filing a successful disability claim.