The Social Security Disability
Experts Since 1984

Crohn’s Disease & Social Security Disability Benefits

Living with Crohn’s disease can be incredibly challenging. The symptoms and complications of this chronic illness can significantly impact daily life. In severe cases, individuals may be unable to work. Understanding your rights and options for disability benefits is crucial to safeguarding yourself and your future.

People who can’t work due to this condition may struggle to cover medical bills as well as everyday expenses. If you’re unable to maintain gainful employment, contact our disability lawyers in Fresno, CA, for a free consultation. If you have severe Crohn’s, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to you.

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. Symptoms range from mild to severe and can include the following:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Blood in stool
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the joints, eyes, and skin
  • Mouth sores
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • And more

These symptoms can be persistent or occur in flares, leading to significant disruptions in daily life. One of the primary features of Crohn’s is its ability to create complications throughout the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract, spanning from the oral cavity to the anal opening. Generally, though, Crohn’s primarily affects the small intestine and colon.

Complications of Crohn’s

Crohn’s disease can lead to serious complications in many cases, especially if proper treatment is not received early on. Some of these complications include:

  • Intestinal blockages
  • Ulcers
  • Fistulas
  • Malnutrition
  • Colon cancer
  • Anemia
  • Liver disease

These complications can further hinder one’s ability to maintain employment and manage daily tasks. Complications can also lead to other health problems. For example, intestinal blockages can easily become life threatening and liver disease can result in infections and liver failure.

Can You Get Disability for Crohn’s Disease?

Yes, you can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if your Crohn’s disease significantly impairs your ability to work. There are two main types of benefits offered to individuals through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI benefits are for disabled individuals who have paid into the Social Security System by earning work credits.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is for disabled, blind, or aged individuals with limited income and resources. People who are unable to work and aren’t eligible for SSDI may qualify for SSI.

Can You Get SSI for Crohn’s Disease? What About SSDI?

To qualify for either SSI or SSDI for Crohn’s disease, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled. That involves meeting the following criteria:

  • Your disability prevents you from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.
  • Your medical condition meets an impairment listing in the Blue Book.
    • If your disability doesn’t fall under a listing, you may still qualify if your condition or combination of conditions equals a listing in severity.
    • You may also qualify for benefits if you can prove your condition prevents you from working based on a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.

How Crohn’s Can Impact Your Ability to Work

As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease can vary greatly. These symptoms can create significant challenges when it comes to maintaining employment.

For example, individuals experiencing severe abdominal pain may find it difficult to remain seated or standing for long periods. They may require frequent breaks or need to lie down in order to alleviate the pain. The fatigue commonly associated with Crohn’s can also hinder a person’s ability to perform their normal work duties.

Likewise, individuals with chronic diarrhea may need frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day, which can limit their productivity. If complications arise, a person with Crohn’s may need to take time off work for surgical treatments or tests.

Given the physical impacts of Crohn’s disease, it’s reasonable that people with this condition can qualify for disability benefits.

How To Get Disability Benefits for Crohn’s Disease

The SSA reviews disability claims by referencing the Blue Book. The Blue Book is a guide used to evaluate whether an individual’s medical condition qualifies for Social Security Disability. It includes detailed criteria for a wide range of physical and mental disorders, specifying the medical evidence and severity required to meet the SSA’s standards for disability.

When applying for SSI or SSDI with Crohn’s disease, applicants can file under Blue Book section 5.00 for Digestive Disorders. Crohn’s is specifically evaluated under section 5.06 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

To qualify under this listing, you must provide comprehensive medical evidence demonstrating the severity of your condition and how it limits your ability to work. This includes providing the SSA with the following information:

  • Lab results
  • Imaging scans
  • Operative findings
  • Documentation of treatments and their effectiveness
  • Other medical records
  • Non-medical supporting evidence

Your disability must meet the criteria under the listing to be considered a qualifying condition. Proving that you meet all the eligibility criteria can be extremely difficult. Working with an experienced disability attorney can greatly increase your chances of filing a successful claim.

At Peña & Bromberg, we understand the SSA’s complex rules and guidelines. We also know what the SSA looks for when assessing eligibility.

When you work with our team, you can rely on us throughout the claims process. We always ensure documentation is filed correctly and on time. We also evaluate and gather necessary evidence that is crucial to supporting your case.

Contact Peña & Bromberg

Navigating the disability claims process can be complicated and overwhelming. At Peña & Bromberg, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to help clients obtain the benefits they need.

If you’re unable to work due to Crohn’s, we can help you apply for Social Security Disability. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. Working with our skilled Social Security Disability lawyers can increase your chances of obtaining financial support.

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