Social Security Disability for Stomach Problems
A surprising amount of acute and chronic health problems can be traced to the digestive system. Digestive issues can be debilitating, and their effects can exacerbate other serious health problems.
If stomach issues have prevented you from working for at least one year or are expected to keep you out of work for at least one year, you may be entitled to SSD benefits. For many people, though, it isn’t just a matter of applying and receiving benefits. Proving disability is a time-consuming and challenging process, and for many people, the first application round results in a denial.
At Walton Law, we dedicate our practice to helping SSD and SSI applicants get the benefits they are entitled to. If you need help with the application or appeals process, we’re here to help. Call 251-455-5819 or get in touch online to set up a consultation.
To assist disability applicants in determining whether or not they can apply for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration maintains a list of conditions that qualify. Under Section 5, they list digestive system conditions. These conditions include:
- Chronic liver disease. Chronic liver disease that qualifies for benefits is defined by hemorrhaging that requires at least two units of blood. An individual can also qualify by meeting specific diagnostic or treatment criteria.
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging. Any condition that causes gastrointestinal hemorrhaging to the point that it requires blood transfusion may qualify an individual for SSD benefits. It must occur at least three times in a six-month period, requiring at least two units of blood per transfusion. This is considered a disability one year from the date of the last transfusion.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. This term is often used to cover both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. If an individual has obstruction of stenotic areas, involuntary weight loss, supplemental nutrition through a G-tube, or an abdominal mass that causes pain, they may qualify for disability due to IBD. Other diagnostic measures can also help you qualify for disability.
- Liver transplant. After receiving a liver transplant, a recipient is considered disabled for one full year due to the risk of the body rejecting the organ.
- Short bowel syndrome. If at least one half of the small intestine is surgically resected, an individual can get disability due to short bowel syndrome. You must also receive nutrition through a central venous catheter.
- Weight loss caused by digestive disorder. If an individual consistently loses weight despite treatment designed to combat the weight loss, they may qualify for disability. An individual must have a BMI lower than 17.5 on two separate evaluations that occur at least two months apart in a six-month period.
What If My Condition Isn’t Listed?
If your stomach condition isn’t listed above, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically disqualified from receiving disability. Digestive issues can make it difficult to eat, get enough nutrition, use the restroom, and be pain-free long enough to work productively. As a result, many other diagnoses may qualify you for disability. Everything depends on how much your condition affects your life and limits your ability to work. The SSA determines your residual functional capacity (RFC) rating, which determines how much medium, light, or sedentary work you are capable of doing.
Any disability claim is dependent on how well you are able to prove the extent of your medical issues. Having a doctor that you can trust and who understands the severity of your medical issues is essential during this time. They can run the tests needed by the SSD; the Blue Book contains information on the specific metrics used to determine whether or not each specific condition qualifies for disability.
They can also assess your RFC and note any limitations you need to be able to work. Those with digestive issues often need frequent breaks, unscheduled breaks, and time to rest, all of which may significantly limit your employment opportunities.
You may also want your doctor to comment on the medications you’re taking for your digestive issues and how they may affect your ability to work.
Working with an attorney throughout this process can save a significant amount of time and energy. Your doctor knows your medical issues, but your lawyer knows what you need to prove disability. Together, they have the knowledge needed for a strong application or appeal.
Applying and Appealing Denials
The application process requires extensive evidence of your health issues, the treatment you’ve received, the medications you take, and the ways in which your diagnosis has affected you. If you are unfamiliar with SSDI, you may be shocked if your initial application is denied. However, a substantial amount of applications get denied on the first try and are approved after an appeal.
Appealing a decision involves providing even more proof that your diagnosis has left you unable to work. In some cases, it’s as simple as submitting a forgotten form. Your attorney will be able to look at your previous application, identify weak areas that may have led to a denial, and ensure that your appeal paints a complete picture of your diagnosis.
Both the application process and the appeal process also require various interviews, meetings, and hearings. These can cause significant anxiety and stress, exacerbating existing stomach issues. Your attorney will attend these meetings with you and represent you.
Turn to Walton Law for Help with Your Disability Claim
Digestive disorders can inhibit your life in almost every way. Whether your disorder leaves you needing frequent or long bathroom breaks, suffering from malnutrition, or too weak to get out of bed, you deserve assistance if you are unable to work.
The team at Walton Law, LLC works primarily with SSI and SSD applicants who desperately need disability benefits, so we understand why applications are denied and what it takes to file a successful appeal. If you are ready to begin the application or appeal process, this is the time to act. Call us at 251-455-5819 or fill out our contact form to discuss your claim in greater detail.