The Law Office of Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC The Law Office of Drozdowski & Rabin, PLLC

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Disability Benefits

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder afflicting millions of Americans, with approximately 200,000 cases diagnosed each year. While the exact cause remains unknown, we do know that it afflicts women more than men, though no one is immune to it.

The common symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain and cramping, bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Fortunately, most people can control IBS with OTC medication and modifications of their lifestyle. On the other hand, some sufferers have symptoms that are so severe, they’re unable to carry on normal daily activities, which includes holding down a job.

In addition to IBS, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is another common gastrointestinal disorder. Because the two share some common symptoms, people often confuse them, but they are by no means the same malady.

Inflammatory bowel disease is classified as a structural disease, meaning that physical damages cause the symptoms that patients suffer. In addition, IBD refers to two different chronic conditions or diseases that may be related: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Both of these diseases consist of inflammation of the intestines, leading to a bowel that is inflamed, swollen and may develop ulcers. This inflammation produces various degrees of abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and intestinal bleeding, and both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can result in serious digestive problems.

A man wearing a white T-shirt grasps his abdomen in pain.

IBS and Social Security Disability

All that brings us to the fundamental question: is irritable bowel syndrome a disability that qualifies you for Social Security benefits? The best answer we can provide to that question is, not necessarily, but it can be under certain conditions.

Digestive disorders considered to be disabilities by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are listed in Section 5.06 of the Social Security Blue Book. In addition to IBD (but not IBS) other gastrointestinal disorders considered disabilities include:

  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • Hepatic (liver) dysfunction
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Malnutrition

Assistance Still a Possibly

All that said, even though IBS is not listed as a disability in the SSA’s Blue Book, you still may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you can show that your IBS symptoms equal those of one of the listed disabilities and prevent you from working.

Simplifying a complicated process, you will have to go through what amounts to a five-step process to demonstrate your inability to work.

  • Step 1 – A determination if you are now gainfully employed. If you’re unable to work due to this condition, then your claim has a better chance of being approved for SSDI benefits.
  • Steps 2 and 3 – The severity of your medical condition is carefully scrutinized.
  • Step 4 – Considers your residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine if you can perform your past work. If your ability to work and function during routine activities is halted by your condition, then you have a better chance of getting approved for social security disability benefits.
  • Step 5 – An assessment of your RFC to determine if you are still able to do other work. If you cannot, the SSA will determine that you’re disabled and entitled to benefits.

Throughout this process, it is absolutely essential to keep complete and accurate medical records, including lab reports, x-rays, and CAT scans, among others, along with reports from your physician describing your long-term outlook, and medical evidence of any side effects suffered during your treatment.

Drozdowski & Rabin: The Social Security Disability Lawyer of Kingsport, TN

Even with all the evidence you can muster on your own, the initial outlook for inflammatory bowel disease and disability benefits is not good, as the vast majority of the claims are rejected. And while you have the right of appeal, that process can be very long and complicated.

At Drozdowski & Rabin, securing disability benefits for our clients is our specialty, and during our over 100 years of combined legal practice, we have helped thousands of individuals in eastern Tennessee and western North Caroline secure the benefits to which they are entitled.

Your initial case consultation is free, you do not have to provide any “up front” money, and there are no hourly fees for our service.

At Drozdowski & Rabin, we’re on your side, and if you think you may qualify for irritable bowel syndrome disability, contact our law firm today for a free consultation and legal advice. Please allow our social security disability attorneys the opportunity to go to work for you and help you secure the financial assistance you so desperately need.

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