If you suffer from IBS alone, you might not win disability benefits right away. However, if your IBS obstructs your day to day activities by as low as 20% through frequent bathroom visits, you might easily qualify for the social security disability benefits.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects millions of American men and women, each year. It is often accompanied with alternative periods of constipation and diarrhea, making frequent bowel movements extremely painful and in some cases leading to other major issues such as piles, hernia, etc. Since only a small number of people with IBS have extremely severe signs and symptoms, they can manage their lifestyle by managing lifestyle, diet and stress changes. The exact cause of IBS is unknown, which is why some researchers find it difficult to cure fully. Some scientists suggest that it is caused due to abnormal levels of serotonin in the brain and nervous system which leads to more pain as gas or stool passes through the bowels.
Qualifying for Disability due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Although it is very difficult to qualify for SSDI based on detection of IBS alone, you can qualify if you meet the basic requirements for SSDI listed by the Social Security Administration. These include:
- -Your IBS symptoms have lasted or are expected to last atleast 12 months
- -You make less than $1350 per month
- -Your IBS makes it unable for you to perform work under substantial gainful activity (SGA)
Are you able to take up past work?
If the SSA does not find symptoms or conditions mentioned in the Blue Book of Impairments, it may reject your SSDI application right away. However, the SSA 'is' required to look further into a person's symptoms if their given condition is not listed clearly in the Blue Book – before rejecting your SSDI application for benefits. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must prove that you have a severe, medically determinable impairment that matches the criteria of a condition listed in the Social Security's Blue Book of Impairment, or match symptoms under one of its categories
Your disability examiner would look for symptoms on the severity of the impact your IBS has on your symptoms such as walking, talking, sitting, lifting, bathing, eating, standing, driving, following directions, remembering things, getting along with other colleagues, etc.
Unfortunately, IBS is not currently a qualified condition – since its not listed in the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments. Although, it doesn't mean that you can't be found disabled, it also doesn't guarantee that you won't meet the SSA's criteria for disability.
Can you take up other work?
In addition to the medical requirements, medical records, physicians testimonies and enough work credits for AIME, you need to be unable to perform sufficient work under substantial gainful activity to be eligible for disability benefits. If your DE finds out you can't take up other work, they would look for other jobs you can take up. For instance, if your condition makes it incumbent for you to visit the restroom more often, then they will need to find you a job that allows you to make frequent and unscheduled visits to the toilet. However, this condition itself would limit the number of jobs available to you. The disability examiner would also need to consider how your IBS symptoms affects your ability to perform work at a commonly acceptable rate and whether your IBS will cause you to miss a large amount of work due to severe abdominal cramps, bowel incontinence, pain and water retention. Hence, if your report by the SSA states that your IBS affects your daily functioning and performance levels by atleast 20% or more, you would qualify for SSDI benefit.
*The problem arises in proving your symptoms of the IBS since they may come and go, from treatment or on their own. In such case, your disability examiner will look for residual functional limitations to determine if you could take up other kind of less sedentary work and be fine, with your condition.
If you aren't disabled according to the above scenarios, there may be other ways to prove your disability benefits. We suggest you consult our expert disability attorneys for legal guidance for qualifying for disability for Irritable bowel syndrome.