Can Irritable Bowel Syndrome qualify me for Disability?
If you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome you may qualify for disability benefits
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disease that affects the large intestine. It is very common, affecting somewhere between eight and twenty percent of the population.
As common as the disorder is, it remains mysterious. The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is largely unknown, though it has something to do with the connection between the brain and the intestine.
Part of the reason the disease is so unknown is that it is considered a “diagnosis of exclusion”, meaning it is usually the diagnosis after other diseases have been ruled out.
Theorized causes include bacterial imbalance, “leaky gut syndrome”, infection, genetics, and food allergies. It is unknown why, but the disorder seems to affect women much more frequently than men. 51% of female IBS patients report a history of sexual abuse and these patients tend to experience more severe and frequent symptoms. It is unknown how trauma may influence the disease, although there is a correlation between IBS and anxiety and depression.
If you have been denied disability for Irritable Bowel Syndrome you may still qualify for benefits. Contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney at 512-454-4000
While the cause of the disorder is unknown, its’ symptoms are also loosely defined.
Diarrhea and constipation are most common, and most medications focus on managing these symptoms. Cramps and bloating are also fairly common. Symptoms of IBS can be triggered by a variety of things. Caffeine and smoking can trigger them. Stress is a common trigger. Certain foods such as dairy, red peppers, green onion, and wheat may instigate symptoms.
Most treatment for IBS focuses on reducing symptoms.
Antidiarrheal drugs, laxatives, fiber supplements, and anti-constipation drugs are most frequently prescribed. Lifestyle changes are centered on reducing stress and eating a healthy, high-fiber diet. The vast majority of IBS cases are not severe and are easily managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
The Social Security Administration offers benefits to those who are unable to work due to an injury or illness.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome can qualify you for disability benefits. The symptoms of IBS can be embarrassing, and patients often feel they are discriminated against at work because of gassiness or frequent bathroom breaks. However, one study indicated that only 5% of those with IBS collect disability. This means that in the majority of cases, IBS is not severe enough to prevent someone from working.
The Social Security Administration has specific guidelines for who can qualify under IBS.
The exact blue book listing can be found here, but it essentially states that the patient must experience:
- low albumin,
- tender abdominal mass,
- perineal disease,
- severe weight loss, or
- hospitalization for surgery twice, at least 60 days apart, in a 6-month period.
Contact the Social Security Disability attorneys at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!
Social Security vocational experts often will agree that if a condition causes an individual to miss three or more days from work a month that this individual is virtually unemployable.
Similarly, such absences may also render the person disabled under a long term disability insurance policy. Therefore, if you are pursuing such a disability claim, it is important that you document the frequency, duration and affects of your irritable bowel syndrome. This will not only assist your doctor in providing you with appropriate treatment, it will assist your doctor when he or she is asked to complete any disability questionnaires required by the Social Security Administration or the long term disability insurance carrier.
If you doctor does not have a particular form for an irritable bowel syndrome diary that he or she prefers, there are many forms available on the web.
Whatever IBS diary form you chose to use, it should provide for a comment section or other area for you to describe the disabling effects of each episode of IBS. For example, if the IBS episode affected you for several hours to the extent you were not able to engage in any activities this is something you should note in the diary.
These conditions are difficult to meet, even in the worst IBS cases.
However, those with severe cases of IBS often have co-existing conditions. The Social Security Administration will take all of your conditions into account when determining whether or not you are able to work.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
- The Duration of Work test. Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
- The Current Work Test. Whether you worked recently enough for the work to actually count toward coverage.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
- Are you working? Your disability must be “total”.
- Is your medical condition severe? Your disability must be “severe” enough to interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering.
- Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments? The SSA has a “List of Impairments” that automatically qualify as “severe” disabilities. If your disease is not listed this does not mean you cannot get disability, it means you must prove you cannot maintain employment due to your limitations.
- Can you do the work you did before? SSDI rules look at whether your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did prior to developing the condition.
- Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do your prior work, an evaluation is made as to whether you can perform any other kind of work.
More details can be found on our Qualifying for Disability page.
If you have applied for benefits and been denied disability, don’t give up. Roughly two-thirds of initial applications are denied. Appealing your claim can be complicated. The attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed have experience helping central Texans with disabilities get the benefits they need. If you have been denied, get a Social Security Disability attorney on your side. Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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