GERD and Social Security Disability

As a sufferer of Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD) you might be medically unqualified for the benefits of Social Security Disability, unless your condition leads to problems with regard to regular functionality that can affect your working capabilities.

In order to evaluate the terms of disabilities, the Social Security Administration (SSA), refers to what they call the ‘Blue Book’ which serves as a manual. It enlists the set of documents and impairments necessary to be produced as proof to justify your application. Since GERD isn’t listed as a qualified condition under the law, one can fight their case for complications due to:

  • COPD under Section 3.03
  • Asthma attacks under Section 3.03
  • Oesophageal cancer under Section 13.16

The severity of your condition should be met with according to the requirements under the SSA’s guidelines. If your application is for asthma, the severity of your asthma should harm your bronchitis causing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In chronic bronchitis problems, you are required to submit a Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV) test report explaining the severity of your deteriorating breathing capacity.

Asthma attacks that force hospitalization with a frequency of once in two months and/or six times a year can help qualify for these benefits. If your application is submitted with oesophageal cancer as the condition, your test report needs to indicate that your oesophagus is affected by carcinoma or sarcoma.

GERD –What is it?

Gastroesophageal Reflux is a condition in the oesophagus that causes the contents of the stomach to rise up the oesophagus. This action occurs involuntarily and results in the food being removed from the body in the opposite direction to normal digestion. This is usually attributed to the inability of the lower oesophageal sphincter to close correctly. GERD may be a result of the following of numerous illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, hypocalcaemia, hiatal hernia or scleroderma.

Symptoms of GERD include:

  • Coughing and belching
  • Wheezing and puking
  • Sore throat
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Heart burn
  • Nausea

In extreme cases, blood may accompany vomit, in which case immediate attention is required.

Patients with symptoms or GERD should limit the intake of caffeine, liquor, tobacco, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables and chocolate. Patients are taken through a weight reduction regime and taught to sleep preferably on their left side. Antacid is the general medication for initial and gentle signs of GERD. While these work for a short time, the preferably prescribed dose includes H-2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors.

In some cases, it is absolutely necessary for the patient to undergo surgery. The general blueprint of a surgery involves the creation of scar tissue in the oesophagus which lowers the sphincter. Thereafter, the oesophageal sphincter is stitched to create a barrier between the stomach and the food pipe. A surgery may not necessarily get you off medications. Most patients still have to stick to the prescribed drugs even after undergoing a surgery.

GERD may be diagnosed by numerous tests such as endoscopy, a pH probe test, an x-ray of the upper digestive tract or even by measuring the oesophageal movement.

Why You Need a Disability Attorney to Help with Your GERD Disability Claim

As cited in most cases, it is not as easy to win a case with a severe condition of GERD. Most GERD related cases don’t receive the fair hearing that they deserve, and a large number of applicants are left without benefits. Primary reasons for difficulties with GERD related cases include:

  • Absence of GERD specifically from the Blue Book
  • Social Security does not obtain the physician’s statement
  • Claimant not being given the opportunity to speak
  • Independence of disability judges

There is a large increase in the number of GERD related applications that the SSA receives everyday with regard to obtaining benefits. Since a majority of these cases are not genuine, the SSA rejects three quarters of them. The rejected applications also have a significant number of genuine cases.

Hiring a good attorney to fight your case will ensure that you get a fair trial. An attorney makes sure that all your documents are submitted and considered, besides giving you the opportunity to speak and put your case forward before the judge. With an attorney, the likelihood of you being given an unbiased trial is on the higher side.