Social Security Disability and Crohn's Disease
Crohn's Disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. While the disease typically affects the lower small intestine, it can cause inflammation in any part of the GI tract. Claimants with Crohn's Disease can suffer from diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss, among other symptoms. The disease currently has no known cure, and treatment can sometimes require multiple surgeries. Obtaining Social Security disability benefits for Crohn's Disease can be frustrating, mostly because the disability listing is very technical. Claimants must prove, using appropriate medical documentation and physician reports, that their disorder is preventing them from being able to hold down gainful employment. Unfortunately, the symptoms associated with Crohn's Disease are similar to symptoms associated with less severe ailments, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), making it hard for doctors to diagnose properly. If a claimant's Crohn's Disease interferes with the ability to work, though, it is definitely still possible to be approved for benefits. The listing requires that a diagnosis of Crohn's Disease be accompanied by medical evidence, including endoscopy, imaging, biopsy, or operative findings. Patients should also exhibit the following: • Recurring (at least twice, 60 days apart, within a 6-month period) obstruction of inflamed areas in the small intestine or colon, resulting in the need for hospitalization. OR • Despite following the prescribed treatment plan, the claimant still experiences two or more of these debilitating symptoms, on two separate physician visits, 60 days apart, within a 6-month period: o Anemia (hemoglobin less than 10.0 g/dL) o Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less o Abdominal pain accompanied by a physical mass or cramping that does not respond to pain medication o A draining abscess or fistula caused by an infected perineum, accompanied by pain that does not respond to pain medication o Unintentional weight loss of 10% or more o Inability to absorb proper nutrition without medical intervention Since the requirements are so specific, claimants may want to speak with their physician or an experienced disability attorney before submitting their claim.