In part I of our blog on Interstitial Cystitis (IC) we discussed the manner by which the Social Security Administration (SSA) will undergo a determination as to whether one is experiencing what is deemed to be a “medically determinable impairment” (or “MDI”) of IC. In part II of this series, we will address how SSA reviews whether an MDI of IC, once determined to be severe, will qualify one for Social Security disability benefits under SSA’s sequential evaluation process.
As is the circumstance involving any other medical impairment determined to be severe, SSA will move to step 3 of their sequential evaluation process so as to determine whether the impairment “meets or equals in severity” one of Social Security’s Listings of Impairments. While there is no particular medical listing of impairment devoted to IC, SSA does still need to evaluate whether the condition and its corresponding symptomatology would meet in severity a particular listing. Given it is quite unlikely that SSA would find that the condition of IC would meet in severity a particular listed impairment, it would then be appropriate for SSA to move to steps 4 and 5 of the sequential evaluation process which involves a determination as to whether the claimant has remained capable of returning to either their past relevant work (that is, any of the types of jobs that they performed during the 15 years prior to becoming disabled) or, in step 5, whether they can return to any jobs that exist in significant numbers in either their region or other regions in the national economy.
In order to make the determinations necessary as part of steps 4 and 5, SSA must first determine the disabled claimant’s residual functional capacity: that is to say, their ability to perform work-related types of function during the day on a regular and continuing basis. The most common symptom associated with IC is chronic pelvic pain, which can serve to impact one’s ability to function in a number of different ways: it may affect one’s ability to sit upright at a desk and perform work, one’s ability to stand or walk for a period of time affect one’s ability to maintain their attention and concentration, may impact one’s sleep (in which case it may lead to a lack of sleep, which in turn can cause one to be sleep and lack focus during the day, resulting also in the need for naps during the day which would not be tolerated in any work environment). Likewise, the pain associated with the chronic pelvic pain could very well impact an individual’s ability to undertake work that requires higher level thinking or what are considered to be more skilled positions. Likewise, IC is many times associated with urinary frequency, and the documented interruption of one’s day by such frequent bathroom breaks can in and of itself serve to disable an individual from performing all manner of gainful employment. Finally, it is important to recognized that IC may serve to impact an individual’s mental health such that they develop an anxiety and/or depressive disorder that further limits their ability to function both inside and outside the home.
The effects of IC can be overwhelming for those suffering from this horrible condition. Given the stress associated with dealing with this condition, one should seek the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability attorney who has consistently handled these types of claims for many years. If you or a loved one is suffering from IC or another severe medical condition that is impacting their ability to work, please feel free to give us a call or have them contact our office so we can see about providing the advice and, if necessary, assistance needed on the claim. We can be reached by either calling us at 1-800-773-8622 or by clicking on the chat button appearing on your screen.