August 25, 2019

Crohn’s/Colitis and Social Security Disability

Diseases of the gastrointestinal system can support a finding a disability from the Social Security Administration.

Social Security recognizes that if you experience severe stomach or abdominal pain, or if you suffer with bouts of diarrhea or constipation, you may not have the capacity to perform even a simple type of job.

Social Security defines “disability” as the inability to engage in “substantial activity” because of a diagnosed medical condition.  Crohn’s and Colitis patients and patients with irritable bowel syndrome often meet this definition because of problems with reliability at work.  For example, a claimant who experiences two episodes of severe gastric distress each week, with each episode lasting three to four hours would end up with six to eight hours of unscheduled absences from work each week.  This level of absenteeism is not consistent with full time work in a competitive job environment and could result in a finding of “disabled” at a Social Security hearing.

Winning your Social Security case, of course, requires that you do more than simply stating that you believe that you are disabled.  You have to produce evidence, which may include:

  • medical records
  • employment records
  • statements from former co-workers or supervisors
  • medications lists

This is where an experienced Social Security disability lawyer comes in.   A good attorney can greatly improve your chances at winning by performing the following tasks:

  • obtaining current medical records and other evidence
  • identifying evidence not currently in your medical file and obtaining it from your medical providers
  • submitting evidence electronically to the Social Security Administration
  • developing a winning “theory of disability” for your case (and there are several different arguments that a Crohns/colitis/IBD claimant can use)
  • reviewing the Social Security file to verify that SSA has the correct “onset date” for your disability
  • reviewing the Social Security file to determine if there are any previous contacts with Social Security that may make you eligible for a larger back benefit check
  • reviewing Social Security’s earnings record associated with your Social Security number for errors or omissions
  • preparing a pre-hearing brief
  • preparing you to testify before a Social Security judge
  • preparing a current medications list and researching side effects and complications
  • evaluating your work history and preparing direct and cross examination of the vocational witness who will appear at your hearing

If you are interested in pursuing a disability claim based on irritable bowel diseases, or are currently in the process of a claim and would like a complimentary case evaluation, please use the Free Case Evaluation form on the right.