Can I Receive Disability Benefits For Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are two forms of inflammatory bowel disease. They each cause long-term inflammation of the digestive system that can impair your ability to work and live a normal life.

They differ in a couple of ways. Ulcerative colitis generally affects only the colon, but the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease may affect any portion of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. Another significant distinction between the two disorders is that Crohn’s disease only affects some portions of the intestine with other portions remaining healthy.

Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, causes inflammation throughout the colon. Another distinction is that inflammation from ulcerative colitis generally limits itself to the lining of the colon, but inflammation from Crohn’s disease will be present in all layers of the walls of the affected portions of the digestive system.

If you have been diagnosed as having ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease that prevents you from working and earning a living, you should speak to a disability lawyer or advocate about receiving disability benefits. Knowing your rights to benefits and the requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for them is essential, so continue reading if you have been wondering, “How can I receive disability benefits for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease?”

What are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease?

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the primary types of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis generally causes inflammation of the colon or large intestine while Crohn’s disease can affect all parts of the digestive system. The symptoms for both conditions are similar and include:

  • 1). Diarrhea
  • 2). Bowel urgency
  • 3). Blood in the stool
  • 4). Abdominal pain
  • 5). Weight loss
  • 6). Decreased appetite
  • 7). Fatigue

A person with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease also may experience a loss of more generalized symptoms in other parts of the body, including:

  • 1). Swollen joints
  • 2). Mouth sores
  • 3). Skin rashes
  • 4). Kidney stones

The cause of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are unknown, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than three million people have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. If you are among them, you may be entitled to receive disability benefits for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease when the symptoms affect your ability to continue to work.

Qualifying for disability benefits with an inflammatory bowel disease

In order to qualify for disability benefits through either of the two disability programs, Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, administered by the Social Security Administration you must have a diagnosis by a physician. The diagnosed condition must meet the SSA definition of disability by being severe enough to prevent you from working, and it must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.

There are a couple of ways to satisfy the severity requirement to qualify for disability benefits. One of them is by having a medical or mental health condition in the SSA Listing of Impairments or, as it is frequently referred to, the Blue Book.

The listed impairments have already been determined by the SSA to be severe enough to satisfy the requirements of the disability definition it uses to decide if you qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits. Each listed impairment, including the listing for inflammatory bowel disease contained in section 5.06 of the Blue Book, have specific criteria that must be met to match the listed impairment.

Qualifying for disability benefits

A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis must be accompanied by clinical examination and diagnostic testing results, including colonoscopy or endoscopy, that documents the specific Blue Book criteria contained in section 5.06. For instance, your medical records must document an obstruction of the colon that required hospitalization on at least two occasions that were at least two months apart during a six-month period.

Sometimes, a medical condition may not match one listed in the Blue Book, but it may still allow you to qualify for disability benefits provided the medical records document that it equals a listed condition.

When a condition does not meet or equal the medical criteria of a listed impairment, a disability lawyer may help you to receive disability benefits for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease by proving that your medical condition prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The SSA looks at how the impairment affects you to first determine whether it allows you to do a type of work that you’ve done in the past. If it does, then you do not qualify for benefits.

If it does not allow you to do work you’ve done before, the SSA examiners look at your age, education and other factors, including your medical condition, to determine whether you can do other types of work available throughout the national economy. If you cannot, then you may qualify for disability benefits.

Contact a disability benefits lawyer

If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, a disability lawyer or advocate at London Eligibility has the experience and knowledge to help with your application for benefits or with an appeal of a denial. Contact us today for a free consultation.