Crohns / Colitis: How To Qualify For Social Security Disability
Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are both major categories of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases . Crohns disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and may affect any part from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition limited to the colon, otherwise known as the large intestine. Crohns and Colitis cause similar symptoms including the urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps, constipation, and rectal bleeding. Other side effects may include fatigue, loss of appetite, and in severe cases, anemia due to blood loss.
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The Social Security Administration has an impairments listing manual which includes an official disability listing for Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. They are evaluated under the disability listing 5.06 Inflammatory Bowel Disease . If your condition meets or is equivalent to 5.06, you can automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To be eligible under the IBD listing, you need to have the diagnosis of IBD documented by appropriate medical testing or imaging, plus a specific complication such as obstruction of stenotic areas, anemia, perineal disease with an abscess or fistula, involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline, or clinically documented tender abdominal mass with pain and cramping.
What Symptoms Do I Need To Qualify
There is a range of symptoms that you might experience when you have Crohns disease, and they all might affect your ability to work differently. Inflammatory bowel disease can be found in section 5.06 of the Social Security Administrations Blue Book, This manual lists a variety of medical conditions, as well as the requirements needed to qualify for benefits under these circumstances.
According to the Blue Book, here are some signs that your Crohns disease might qualify you for disability benefits:
What Is The Difference Between Crohns Disease And Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is another form of IBD . Unlike Crohns disease, it affects only a limited amount of the gastrointestinal tract, typically the colon and rectum, and harms only the inner lining of your intestines.
Bloody stools, fatigue, abdominal pain, and bowel urgency are common symptoms of ulcerative colitis. While Crohns disease might skip areas of your GI tract, UC causes a more continuous inflammation and does not skip.
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So Do I Identify Myself As Disabled
Today, right now, I do not.
But I think this is incredibly tied to the fact that my Crohns disease has been extremely well managed for the last few years.
But when I first got sick, when I spent years in the throes of undiagnosed and unmanaged Crohns disease yes, absolutely I considered myself disabled.
While I may never have referred to myself as disabled, I certainly felt extremely limited by a major medical condition over which I could not gain control.
Treatment Of Crohn’s Disease
Acute flare-ups of Crohn’s disease are treated aggressively to achieve a remission. Once remission is achieved, treatment usually includes antibiotics for infections and anti-inflammatory drugs to control inflammation. Severe Crohn’s cases may require multiple surgeries to control or maintain remission of the disease. Even after surgery, Crohn’s can continue be a lifelong problem to that makes it impossible to hold down a full-time job.
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Long Term Disability Insurance When You Cannot Work Due To Crohns Disease
Disability insurance companies will often dismiss inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns as nothing more than an occasional, unpleasant annoyance. Many LTD carriers are skeptical of Crohns-related disability claims. They are unaccepting of the devastating complications you face. Most take the stance that Crohns is not a true long term disability and that medicines, diet, and treatment will resolve the problem over time.
Another tactic to avoid paying benefits is to characterize your Crohns disease as a mental or nervous disorder, because most LTD policies limit the benefits for mental to 24 months, and then benefits stop.
To counter these and other strategies to deny your rightful benefits, you must prove all of the ways your condition limits your ability to do your job. Our disability attorneys can help you develop the necessary evidence including documentation of your diagnosis, complete medical records, functional capacity evaluations, and ongoing treatment history.Your doctors support is essential. We work with treating doctors to help them strengthen your claim. Eligibility for disability will hinge on several things, beginning with your policys definition of disability. From there you develop your claim to establish the severity of your Crohns disease and its effects upon your daily activities and your ability to work.
See Your Doctors And Follow Their Recommendations
When you are living with a chronic condition like Crohns disease, it is tempting to self-treat your symptoms at home. After all, you probably know what your gastroenterologist will recommend and it might save you on medical bills.
However, medical records also help document your flares and can help your doctors track the progression of your disease and its severity. This information will be essential during your long-term disability claim.
First, it can help you pinpoint the time when your symptoms became disabling. Second, consistent medical care can refute the insurance companys arguments that you are in better health than you claim to be.
Additionally, insurance companies sometimes deny claims because people are noncompliant with their treatment. Do your best to follow your gastroenterologists recommendations. And if you cannot tolerate a recommended therapy, reach out to your doctor before you make changes to your treatment plan.
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Getting Disability For Crohn’s Disease
Is Crohn’s disease considered a disability? Yes, Social Security considers severe Crohn’s disease to be a significant impairment that may prevent an individual from performing substantial work. In the listing of impairments published by the Social Security Administration , Social Security evaluates Crohn’s disease under inflammatory bowel disease .
Can I Get Disability For Crohn’s Disease
You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits based on your Crohn’s disease. The Social Security Administration has a multi-step evaluation process. First, the SSA will determine whether you are working at the Substantial Gainful Activity level in 2021, SGA level if $1,310 per month. If you are earning $1,310 or more per month, the SSA will deny your claim. The SSA must also determine whether your Crohn’s disease is expected to last at least a year because Crohn’s is a life-long disease, this requirement is easily satisfied. The SSA will next determine whether your Crohn’s disease is “severe.” To be “severe,” your Crohn’s disease must substantially impact your ability to do basic work activities.
At the next step, the SSA will look to see if your Crohn’s disease meets or equals one of the conditions set forth in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. The SSA includes Crohn’s disease as a qualifying condition under listing 5.06, Inflammatory Bowel Disease. If the SSA finds objective medical evidence in your medical record that demonstrates that your Crohn’s meets the criteria of listing 5.06, the SSA will automatically approve your claim for disability.
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How To Win Disability Benefits For Crohns Disease
There are specific challenges in preparing your long-term disability benefits claim for Crohns disease.
Ive already described the steps you should take to gain a firm diagnosis for Crohns disease. Remember, the CPP disability administration will not approve your CPP disability benefits just because a doctor diagnosed you with the condition.
If only it were that easy. To win CPP disability benefits for Crohns disease, the true challenge is to prove that your symptoms render you unable to function in any workplace while taking into account your age and work experience.
You will have to present a very well-organized application that includes well-documented medical evidence. In addition to comments and descriptions made above, here are the main points to consider for Crohns disease.
Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits With Crohns Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control , about 1.6 million Americans have inflammatory bowel disorders . Crohns disease is one form of IBD, but the exact number of adults in the U.S. with this type of IBD is uncertain. The Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America estimates about 700,000 Americans have Crohns disease, and that most Crohns patients are diagnosed before the age of 35.
Some people find their symptoms can be controlled effectively with available treatments. Others however continue to have bouts of pronounced symptoms even when following prescribed therapies. Symptoms can include pain, inflammation, fatigue, fever, chronic diarrhea, bowel obstructions, and weight loss, among others, all of which can significantly disrupt your ability to work.
If you are among those for whom Crohns is that is uncontrolled by available therapies, then you can qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration .
Disability programs include Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . Whether you qualify for one or for both programs, youll receive monthly payments that can help you cover your everyday bills and living expenses as well as the costs of ongoing medical care.
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Practicing Self Care Is Not Selfish
Ive seen the nasty looks. I’ve also received the judging stares of those who look at me with sheer indignation, and have even had snide remarks directed me or muttered under breath as they pass by.
The answer to all of the above scenarios is, No.
What Exactly Is Crohns Disease
Crohns disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, is a condition in which there is inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. This inflammation can cause diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, and fatigue.
In severe cases, intestinal blockages, ulcers, and malnutrition may occur.
Crohns disease is an unpredictable chronic illness, known for its flares and remissions. As such, a person suffering from Crohns disease often faces many physical and emotional challenges.
As a general rule, Crohns disease is considered a progressive illness, meaning that for most people it tends to get worse over time. This means that many individuals who do not initially qualify for SSDI benefits may later qualify as the disease progresses.
While there is no known cure for Crohns, there are many possible treatments to help decrease the severity of the symptoms.
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Crohns Disease And Disability
As stated, Crohns Disease is a chronic pathological condition which causes inflammation and swelling in the GI tract. It usually affects the small intestine, although it can affect any part of the whole digestive tract. It is also known by the name of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This disease usually gets worse with time and has its own periods of remission where the symptoms are not that apparent. This period of remission can last for years even though the individual may still have the disease.
To answer the question about whether can you get disability for Crohns Disease, then the answer is yes it can be considered for granting disability benefits. The SSA considers Crohns Disease to be a medical condition which can cause significant impairment in an individual and prohibit him or her from working hence, an individual can be granted disability benefits due to Crohns Disease. This disease comes under Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in the list that the SSA publishes detailing the impairments which can qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits.
How Do You Treat Crohns Disease
Currently, there is no cure for Crohns disease. And, because people with the disease can have very different symptoms, there is not a standard treatment protocol. Instead, your doctor and gastroenterologist will build a treatment plan that targets your specific issues and symptoms.
Depending on your circumstances, your treatment plan might include medications, surgeries, and dietary changes. Some treatment options, especially biologic therapies, require regular visits to a medical center for infusions. Others, especially some immunomodulators, can result in serious side effects, like nausea, vomiting, and even liver damage.
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Bryant Legal Group: Chicagos Premier Disability Insurance Firm
The disability attorneys at Bryant Legal Group guide professionals through their complex legal claims. We take a practical, client-centered approach that focuses on you and your familys unique needsand we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.
If you have questions about whether you are entitled to disability benefits due to Crohns disease or IBD, schedule your free consultation today. You can reach us by calling 312-667-2536 or completing this brief online form.
The Costs Of Crohns Disease
In its early stages, Crohns may not prevent employment, and some people are able to manage their illness through treatments. For others however, the disease progresses, requiring multiple surgeries, frequent hospital stays, and more and more time away from the job. A loss of earnings is therefore a huge cost associated with Crohns. Ongoing medical expenses weigh heavily on many patients as well.
The more frequently Crohns symptoms flare up, the higher the medical bills patients face, but even managing the disease can be expensive. Routine colonoscopies are recommended for Crohns, and at an average cost of $2,500 to $5,000 for each procedure, just keeping a watchful eye on your illness is a major expense.
Routine treatment for Crohns additionally includes frequent doctor visits, blood work, and prescription and over-the-counter medications. Biological drugs, like Remicade, are promising new treatments, but often fall outside the budget range of many patients. The CCFA reports copayments of between $2,000 and $4,000 per month for biological medications.
The CCFA reported the estimated direct costs for people with IDB were $1.84 billion in 2013. Your individual expenses may vary with your symptoms and based on what your insurance covers, but the CCFA puts the average annual expense per IBD patient at about $19,000.
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When I Did Consider My Crohn’s A Disability
During graduate school, I had to withdraw for a semester because I spent too many days out of class while admitted to the hospital. When I returned to school, I had to ask for accommodations because it was impossible for me to sit through 3 hours of class without running to the bathroom or doubling over in pain.
This felt difficult and embarrassing, but my university had a disability services program that supported me. Utilizing their resources made me feel validated in my struggles and in my need for help.
If the office of Student Disability Services worked for me and with me, does that mean that at the time I was disabled? Perhaps.
Did it mean that I needed more help than the average healthy student at that time? Absolutely.
How Does The Social Security Administration Decide If I Qualify For Disability Benefits For Crohns Disease
If you have Crohns disease, Social Security disability benefits may be available. To determine whether you are disabled by Crohns disease, Social Security Administration first considers whether your Crohns disease is severe enough to meet or equal a listing at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. See Winning Social Security Disability Benefits for Crohns Disease by Meeting a Listing. If you meet or equal a listing because of Crohns disease, you are considered disabled.
If your Crohns disease is not severe enough to equal or meet a listing, Social Security Administration must assess your residual functional capacity , to determine whether you qualify for benefits at Step 4 and Step 5 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. See Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Crohns Disease.
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What If I Don’t Meet An Ssa Listing
Sometimes people with Crohn’s are too sick to work but don’t meet the SSA listing criteria for IBD or weight loss. In this case, you can still be approved for disability, but it may be more difficult. The SSA will look at your documented symptoms to determine at what level you can work: heavy work, medium work, light work, or sedentary work. This is called your residual functional capacity . The SSA will then evaluate whether you are able to do your past work with your RFC rating. If the SSA believes you can do your past work, your claim will be denied.
If the SSA believes you are unable to do your past work, it will next consider your ability to learn and do other jobs given your RFC, and your age, education, and work background. Older, less educated people who worked more sedentary jobs are more likely to be approved at this stage.
To help the SSA assess your RFC correctly, it’s helpful to provide the SSA with an analysis from your treating doctor about how the Crohn’s affects your ability to work. Your doctor can fill out an RFC form to describe your limitations: how long you are able to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, push and pull, and whether you are required to rest throughout the day and if you need frequent and unscheduled breaks. The more restrictions your RFC reflects, the more likely you are to be approved .
Filing A Claim For Social Security Disability Benefits
You have several ways to approach Social Security disability benefits. You can either schedule an appointment to go to your nearest Social Security Administration and start the process in person, or you can call 1-800-772-1213 to start your application over the phone. You can also visit the website, and start the disability benefits process there.
The key to proving your claim and receiving benefits is providing detailed medical records that include test results, past treatment approaches and the results, and physician notes and documentation that show how your restrictions and limitations impact your daily life as well as your ability to work. Because the claims process is complicated and involves multiple steps, you should consult with a disability attorney. While the average claim takes five months for approval and most claims are denied on the first consideration, those who have an attorney are much more likely to be approved for monthly benefits.
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