Digestive disorders are common. While many symptoms are mild and can be countered by an OTC treatment, more severe problems may interfere with your ability to work and earn a living. If you suffer from a chronic digestive problem that has prevented you from working or is likely to prevent you from working for at least a year, you may be able to receive regular benefits from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Eligibility includes non-medical factors such as having worked a certain number of years as well as meeting the unique definition of disability as described in the Red Book by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Criteria Does the Social Security Administration Use to Evaluate Digestive Disorders?
The SSA will review your medical records to see if your condition meets an exact listing under Section 5.0 in the Blue Book. Digestive disorders that qualify for benefits may include gastrointestinal hemorrhage due to any cause requiring blood transfusion, chronic dysfunction of the liver, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), short bowel syndrome, malnutrition due to weight loss related to a digestive disease, and liver transplant.
To make a determination, the SSA will evaluate the severity and duration of the digestive disorder; how effective treatment has been, and any side effects of the treatment.
What Kind of Documentation Is Required?
In order to assess the severity and duration of your digestive disorder, the SSA will need to review your clinical and laboratory reports. These may include imaging studies, reports of endoscopy, surgery, and pathological reports. Medically accepted imaging may include, but is not limited to:
- X-ray imaging
- Computerized axial tomography (CAT scan)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Radionuclide scans
These reports must be recent, within the time period related to your application.
What Happens When Your Digestive Disorder Does Not Meet a Blue Book Listing?
When your digestive disorder does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, the SSA will evaluate the severity of your disease based on your functional and mental limitations. They will conduct a test called Residual Functional Capacity which assesses your ability to perform work-related tasks such as how long you can sit, walk, whether you are able to follow instructions, etc. The SSA will also consider your age and educational qualifications to determine whether you can go back to your work or whether your skills can be transferred to any another job. Consequently, the SSA will determine whether you are able to earn a living in spite of your disability. If you are not able to resume any type of work, you will be approved to receive SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
What Kind of Digestive Disorders Qualify for SSDI Benefits?
Here’s a list of digestive disorders listed in the Blue Book. If your condition is an exact match to any one of these conditions, you can easily qualify to receive SSDI benefits. If your condition does not match a listing, you can still be approved to receive a medial vocational allowance provided your medical evidence clearly demonstrates you cannot work for at least a year because of your digestive problem.
- Gastrointestinal Hemorrhaging is a symptom of a digestive disease and there could be a number of possible causes for this. The SSA will approve benefits for GI hemorrhaging due to any cause if you have received at least 2 units of blood per transfusion, at least 3 times during a consecutive 6-month period.
- Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) occurs when your body is unable to absorb enough nutrients because there is not enough small intestine. The SSA considers SBS due to a surgical resection of the bowel with dependence on daily parenteral nutrition.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. It includes conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- End Stage Liver Disease can be caused by a number of chronic liver diseases. This is a condition in which the liver has been severely damaged resulting in permanent scarring of the liver and its functions.
- Weight Loss due to any digestive disorder can qualify for SSDI benefits if your BMI is less than 17.5.
- Liver Transplant involves the transplanting of the entire liver or some parts of it.
Is there a faster way to process SSDI benefits?
If your digestive disorder is extremely severe or terminal, the SSA will automatically expedite your claim under the Compassionate Allowance Initiative (CAL). There is no special application process for this. Submit your application according to standard procedure. The SSA computer systems will automatically identify severe or terminal cases and place them on the fast-track process for claims approval.
Apply for SSDI Benefits Today
If you suffer from an extreme digestive problem that has cost you your livelihood for at least a year, apply for SSDI benefits today. Fill out our free disability evaluation form to find out whether you’re eligible.
If you don’t meet an exact listing in the Blue Book, it is important to demonstrate that your medical condition prevents you from working at any job. The testimony of your treatment physician describing the extent to which your condition prevents you from performing work-related activities is an advantage. Advocates with Disability United are experienced in SSDI matters and can help you collect the medical evidence you need to demonstrate you meet with the SSA description of disability.
Call us now or request for a free disability evaluation and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.