If you suffer from a digestive system disorder that severely affects your life and has left you unable to work, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Many medical conditions can originate in the digestive tract. Your digestive system breaks down the foods that you consume. The tract is lengthy, extending from the anus to the mouth and attaches to numerous organs, such as the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder which aid with digestion by providing digestive juices.
Chances in bowel habits, severe abdominal pain, bloody stools, and excessive, unexpected weight loss could be the sign of digestive disorders. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or others that concern you, you should seek medical care. If your digestive disease keeps you from working, you might qualify for disability benefits. If your digestive disorder meets or equals one of the listings found in the Listing of Impairments in the SSA medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, you will be approved for benefits.
Meeting The Medical Criteria For Disability Benefits
The Blue Book has digestive diseases listed under Listing 5.0. Several different digestive issues are included under this listing. To be approved under this listing, any of the following can apply:
- Short bowel syndrome
- Chronic liver disease
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging that requires a blood transfusion
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Weight loss caused by any digestive disorder
- Liver transplant
Just have a definitive diagnosis of any of these problems doesn’t guarantee that you will be approved for disability benefits, but if you have undergone a liver transplant you will automatically be approved. The individual listing for each of those diseases has specific, complex medical criteria that must be proven via medical records to confirm the severity of your diagnosis.
For example, to be approved for disability benefits with Crohn’s disease, you must be able to provide documentation that confirms one of the following:
Bowel obstruction – You must have proof of an obstruction, not just lesions or adhesions, of narrowed areas of the colon or small intestine with swelling and dilation. The obstruction must be confirmed by medical imaging or a surgical procedure and require hospitalization or surgery to compress the intestinal tract. This obstruction must have happened at least two times, at least 60 days apart, within a six-month timeframe.
Other complications – You can be approved for disability benefits if you have two of the following complications despite undergoing the prescribed treatments. You must experience these two complications within the same six-month timeframe:
Tender mass felt during the physical exam with cramping or abdominal pain that cannot be controlled with prescription pain medication. This must be documented on two medical visits at least 60 days apart.
- Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10g/dL during two different blood tests at least 60 days apart.
- Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less after two blood tests performed at least 60 days apart.
- Perineal disease with a fistula or a draining abscess with pain that isn’t controlled by prescription medications. This must be documented on two medical visits at least 60 days apart.
- Unintentional weight loss of at least 10 percent from your starting weight that is documented on at least two medical visits 60 days apart.
- The necessity for supplemental daily nutrition by a feeding tube in the nose, small intestine, or stomach or by a chest catheter.
To start your disability application, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov. A disability attorney will review your case and determine if your condition meets the criteria to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.