Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s and Colitis: Establishing Entitlement to Disability

Our office routinely represents claimants who are suffering from the severe effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease and Colitis related claims and have assisted the vast majority of these clients with obtaining favorable decisions in their cases.  If properly documented and presented, these claims are well-recognized and thoughtfully considered by the Administrative Law Judges we routinely appear in front of out of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Having a knowledgeable and experienced Social Security disability lawyer from the very beginning can assist you in ensuring your case is properly presented for consideration.  Understanding Social Security’s rules and regulations  is important to an understanding as to how one’s claim should be documented so as to ensure a successful conclusion.

From an initial standpoint, our office will ensure that you have been receiving treatment from appropriate specialists for your condition.   As we frequently recommend, for any condition that one believes is severe and disabling, it’s important that you are seeking treatment from specialists.  With respect to gastrointestinal issues, it would be anticipated that treatment has taken place, and remains ongoing, with a gastroenterologist and that testing has been undertaken by way of such diagnostic tools as x-rays and CT scan of the abdomen, extensive laboratory testing, including blood work, along with such invasive diagnostic tools as endoscopy and colonoscopy to confirm the root causes of one’s condition and why it remains severe and disabling.  Likewise, the Social Security Administration will look to see that one has exhausted treatment avenues involving medication management (including what can be infusion therapy options) as one is required to show that they remain disabled despite prescribed treatment.  SSA is looking to see that claimants are exhausting their treatment options in a battle to remain at work.

Ultimately, there are a medical listings of impairments that are important to understand in an attempt to prove such claims.  Social Security Listing of Impairment 5.00 addresses Digestive Disorders and, specifically, Listing 5.06 addresses the criteria for Inflammatory Bowel Disease while Listing 5.08 addresses the criteria for Weight Loss Due to any Digestive Disorder.  Issues involving anemia, malnutrition and weight loss may all come in to play when it comes to meeting one of the above medical listings of impairments.  It’s important to remember as well that even if one does not meet the criteria for one of these listed impairments, Social Security’s regulations are looking to see if ultimately your condition is impacting in a significant manner one’s ability to attend to work on a regular and consistent manner.   Some of the issues that frequently represent themselves in these types of cases can include frequent trips to the restroom as a result of bowel issues causing diarrhea (along with what can be on very little or no notice), issues with nausea or abdominal pain (which may result from constipation issues, and which issues be accompanied by the need to lie down on a frequent basis during the day), the inability to eat without experiencing nausea or vomiting and side effects to medications such as drowsiness.  It is understood that such conditions are episodic in nature and simply the inability to make it to work  2 or more days per month would ordinarily result in a vocational expert at hearing testifying that one remains totally disabled from all forms of gainful employment as such absences would not, ordinarily, be tolerated by an employers.

Having the above issues described properly on one’s initial application material, including especially the Adult Function Report, which is typically forwarded to claimant’s to complete as part of their initial filings and, on occasion, once again as part of the reconsideration process, is essential. Having a knowledgeable attorney assist you with these forms can help ensure your claim is not harmed early on by what is a less than complete explanation as to how your condition impacts your ability to function.

If you are suffering from severe gastrointestinal issues that simply make it impossible for you to function on a consistent basis at either home or outside of the home, obtaining a consultation from a Social Security lawyer can help provide you with the advice, and potentially assistance, you need to get a claim for Social Security disability benefits underway.   Contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at 1-800-773-8622 for a free, confidential assessment of your circumstances.