Diverticulitis and Social Security Disability

Diverticulitis is characterized by the inflammation or infection of the pouches or sacs in the inner lining of the colon and large intestine. The symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Bloating and gas

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Diverticulitis

Many people with diverticulitis are able to see an improvement in their condition with the help of diet changes and medications. However, in many cases complications can occur. These include obstructions or serious infections that cause the diverticulitis to affect the body for more than 12 months. If you have suffered severe symptoms for more than a year and the condition has made it impossible for you to work, it may be possible for you to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

The eligibility requirements for SSD approval are listed in what is known as the Social Security Disability blue book. This book details what symptoms and limitations qualify individuals to receive assistance. Diverticulitis is not a medical condition that is specifically listed, but inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is listed, and has many of the same side effects. If your side effects meet the requirements, you may be able to receive approval for benefits.

Qualifying for SSD Benefits Under the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Listing

When seeking approval for Social Security Disability benefits with diverticulitis, you must demonstrate that your symptoms meet the requirements set forth under the inflammatory bowel disease listing. In order to be eligible under these requirements, you must provide evidence that at least one of the following is true:

  • You have experienced at least two bowel obstructions in the past six months that required hospitalization.


Two of the following problems occurred within the last six months:

  • Two cases of peritonitis with an abscess of fistula, with pain that does not respond to medication
  • Anemia
  • Two instances of an abdominal mass being present that can be felt during a physical examination, with pain that does not respond to medication
  • Need for nutrition via tubes
  • Low serum albumin
  • Weight loss of more than 10% of your body weight

If your symptoms do not match these requirements, but your diverticulitis prevents you from working, it may be possible to receive benefits by completing the Physical Residual Functioning Capacity assessment. This assessment measures your limitations and ability to work.

Medical Evidence Necessary to Receive Approval for SSD Benefits

When applying for SSD benefits, it is essential to provide thorough medical documentation that demonstrates the severity and frequency of your symptoms. This medical evidence may include:

  • Summarization of hospitalizations
  • History of treatments and medications, as well as your response to those treatments
  • Physician’s notes explaining the severity of your symptoms and prognosis
  • Any relevant lab or imaging results

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney to Handle Your SSD Application

As diverticulitis can often be treated and controlled using medications and lifestyle changes, the SSA does not frequently approve applications for individuals seeking benefits under this condition. If your diverticulitis has caused painful complications or has otherwise restricted your ability to work, it is important to provide thorough medical evidence proving your limitations. To improve the likelihood of approval, enlist the assistance of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney.

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