If you have been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis you may be wondering if you will be able to continue work activity and, if not, how you will possibly pay your daily living expenses and make ends meet. The majority of individuals who are diagnosed with this condition are faced with a lack of income and, as a result, mounting financial stress. Fortunately, in cases such as these, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to offset some of the financial burden that has been caused by your disability. If you have been diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis and are wondering how the condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will help.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis - Condition and Symptoms
Sclerosing cholangitis is a term that refers to the inflammation, scarring and destruction of the bile ducts that are located inside and outside of the liver. When an individual suffers from this condition, the bile ducts inside and outside of the liver become scarred and narrowed. While the cause of primary sclerosing cholangitis is usually undetected, the condition is oftentimes found in individuals who have Crohn's Disease, ulcerative colitis, sarcoidosis, chronic pancreatitis and a variety of autoimmune disorders.
The symptoms of primary sclerosing cholangitis will vary depending on the stage and severity of the condition. Common symptoms include jaundice, itching, loss of appetite, enlarged liver, spleen enlargement and repeat occurrences of cholangitis. The disease is progressive in nature and will, eventually, lead to liver failure. The only known cure for primary sclerosing cholangitis is liver transplant, but these surgeries are usually reserved for individuals who have suffered from severe liver damage.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a condition that is covered under the Social Security Disability guidelines under Medical Listing 5.0. While this listing addresses all chronic liver disease, primary sclerosing cholangitis is specifically mentioned under this section. It is important to note, however, that not all cases of primary sclerosing cholangitis are the same and some cases are not as severe as others. Because of this, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims that are based on primary sclerosing cholangitis on a case-by-case basis.
In order to qualify for disability benefits due to this diagnosis, you will need to provide the SSA with detailed medical records along with your disability claim forms. When filling out these forms, be sure to answer all of the questions thoroughly. One-word answers will not suffice. Your goal is to help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand how limiting your disability really is. The answers you provide on your application will help you accomplish this goal.
When providing copies of your medical records, make sure that all lab tests are included along with your claim forms. The SSA will need to see how your liver is functioning and what limitations the condition may be placing on your ability to perform daily activities. If you are unable to prove, beyond a doubt, that your condition prevents you from performing any type of substantial gainful activity, chances are that you will not be approved for benefits during the initial stage of the disability application process.
Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and Your Social Security Disability Case
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is considered to be a chronic liver disease and, as such, is included in the SSA's disability guidelines. However, it is important to understand that these cases are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and the SSA has been known to deny up to 70 percent of the initial Social Security Disability applications received each year. Because of this, you should be prepared to file a disability appeal in the event that your initial claim for disability benefits is denied.
When filing a Social Security Disability claim based on a diagnosis of primary sclerosing cholangitis, you should consider retaining the services of disability lawyer. These professionals will understand the Social Security process and they will help you gather the evidence that will be needed to prove your disability. If you have already been denied benefits, your attorney will also be able to represent you at your disability hearing. While you can technically represent yourself during your disability appeal, statistics show that your chances of receiving a favorable outcome as a result of this hearing are much greater with proper legal representation.