Can I Work With Interstitial Cystitis?

Interstitial Cystitis (IC) is a long term bladder condition that causes inflammation resulting in pelvic pain and frequent urination. Often, those who suffer from IC have a great deal of urgency regarding their need to urinate, and may often lose control. Additionally, the condition typically causes a great deal of pain, both when the sufferer needs to urinate and during sexual intercourse.

Most IC sufferers are women, though the condition can exist in men as well. IC can be somewhat difficult to diagnose, as doctors typically rule out other causes of urinary troubles and pelvic pain before concluding that you are suffering from IC.

There are several types of treatment, each of which has varying degrees of success with different patients. Treatments range from surgery to physical therapy to diet modification. There is no actual cure for IC.

There is no specific Social Security Disability listing for IC, but the Social Security Administration has made a ruling on IC, recognizing it as a serious condition which may merit Social Security Disability benefits if the symptoms of IC (or IC combined with other conditions) meet the general requirements of other listed conditions. If you are making a Social Security Disability claim due to IC, be prepared to go through the appeals process. For most people, this will mean contracting a Social Security Disability lawyer.

Effects of Interstitial Cystitis on Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

IC can have a significant impact on your ability to perform physical work. Besides the fact that the frequent need for urination (in some cases as often as 60 times per day) and the need of being able to stop work on a moment’s notice to urinate can hinder you from performing any kind of work. The pelvic pain can make it extremely difficult to walk, push, pull, bend, and lift. Your ability to perform these activities is considered in determining your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits. When you apply for Social Security Disability, make sure that all physical limitations are clearly listed.

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to show that your IC (and other applicable conditions) makes it impossible for you to perform any kind of work that you have performed during the relevant period (typically the past 15 years) and that you cannot reasonably be trained for any other kind of work. Regarding physical work, this will mean that you must prove that you can’t even perform light physical work (lifting 25 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds regularly).

Fortunately, this is often provable as long as you can show that you can’t stay at a job long enough to accomplish meaningful work due to the constant need to urinate. The best way to do this is to record how many times a day your work is interrupted by your need to urinate. During the hearing, this can be useful in proving just how often you need to use the bathroom and the effect it has on your employability.

Effects of Interstitial Cystitis on Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Proving that you are incapable of performing sedentary work is often more difficult than proving you are incapable of performing physical work. In most IC cases, however, you can prove that you are unable to perform sedentary work because you are not able to sit down for extended periods of time without needing to urinate. The pain often caused by IC also may have an effect on your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits if you can make the case that your pain is causing you difficulty concentrating on a task for an extended period of time.