The month of April marks Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects as many as one in every five Americans. It is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by doctors in the United States, occurring more frequently in women than in men. Most cases (more than 50 percent) of IBS are diagnosed before the age of 35.
What are the Symptoms of IBS?
IBS can result in a number of symptoms, the most common of which are abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. IBS results in a great deal of pain, although it does not permanently cause harm to the intestines nor is it considered to be a deadly or serious disease.
While some people can control the symptoms of IBS through diet, management of stress and/or prescription medications, others are unable to control symptoms and the condition becomes disabling.
As a result, these people are unable to perform the responsibilities that are required to maintain employment.
Qualifying Via the Blue Book
Individuals who are unable to work due to a case of IBS may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits under the SSA’s “Blue Book” of medical impairments. IBS falls under Section 5.0 of this book, which includes digestive system disorders.
Other digestive system disorders that are covered under Section 5.0 of the SSA’s Listing of Impairments include short bowel syndrome, gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, chronic liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, liver transplant and other digestive disorders that lead to uncontrolled weight loss.
While IBS itself does not have its own listing in the SSA’s Blue Book, IBS can fall under the category of an inflammatory bowel disease, which is included under the Blue Book listings, if you are able to prove that your condition is severe enough to meet the criteria that has been set forth in this listing.
In order to do this, you will need comprehensive medical records, lab results and a treatment history to prove the extent of your condition.
Next Steps to Take
Because it can be harder to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income due to a case of IBS, it is recommended that you utilize the services of a Social Security Disability attorney when filing your claim for Social Security Disability benefits. The attorneys who work on SSD cases understand what information the SSA must see in order to approve a claim for benefits and will be able to assist you in gathering the medical evidence that will be required to prove your case to the Social Security Administration.
In addition to understanding what medical evidence the SSA will need to see and helping you gather the necessary medical evidence, a Social Security Disability attorney can help you fill out your claim forms properly, ensuring that you answer the questions on the forms in such a way so that the SSA fully understands the extent to which your disability interferes with your daily activities and prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
While it is true that the majority of initial disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration, the services of a Social Security attorney who is familiar with IBS cases may be able to increase your chances of being approved for benefits during the initial stage of the application process, thereby avoiding the need for a disability appeal and getting you the benefits that you are entitled to as soon as possible.