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Can Inflammatory Bowel Disease Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits?


When you think of a disability, you may think of mobility issues, brain damage, loss of vision or hearing, and maybe even cancer. You may not think of medical conditions such as ulcerative colitis, but it is a condition that can be disabling for some people. In fact, it’s possible that you could even receive Social Security Disability benefits for having this condition.

For some, ulcerative colitis and other types of inflammatory bowel disease are severe enough to interfere with a person’s life. You are able to receive monthly benefit payments if it is severe enough to be a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person is considered to have a disability if they are unable to partake in “major life activities.” These activities include walking, sleeping, concentrating, performing manual tasks, and working. A disability can affect any bodily function, including the digestive system, which is the case for ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms such as the following:

  • Urgent bowel movements
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite loss
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss

While some people have ulcerative colitis so severe that they cannot work, some are able to continue working with accommodations. For example, they may need to move their desk closer to a restroom. They may need more frequent breaks or flexible working hours so they can visit the doctor. They may be able to receive paid or unpaid leave and even work from home.

Eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have ulcerative colitis, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits if you have a narrow or obstructed passageway in the small or large intestine and have needed surgery twice in a six-month period. Otherwise, you may also qualify for benefits if you have experienced two of the following issues in a period of six months:

  • A tender abdominal mass that causes abdominal pain or cramping
  • A disease involving a draining fistula or abscess that affects the area between the anus and genitals
  • The need for daily supplemental nutrition through a catheter or an opening in the stomach (gastrostomy)
  • Anemia, below 10 grams hemoglobin per deciliter (g/dL)
  • Serum albumin below 3 g/dL
  • Weight loss of at least 10% from baseline weight

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need adequate medical documentation as proof. This may include imaging as well as diagnosis from a biopsy, endoscopy, or surgery. Also, inflammatory bowel disease may increase the risk of short bowel syndrome, which is considered to be a disability by the Social Security Administration.

Learn More About Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability benefits are available for those suffering from a variety of medical conditions. However, the guidelines can be confusing and you may not understand what you are entitled to receive.

If you suffer from ulcerative colitis or some other debilitating condition, contact White Plains Social Security disability attorney Michael Lawrence Varon. We can help determine your eligibility for benefits. Call 914-294-2145 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.



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