Digestive disorders can be extremely debilitating and prevent an individual from continuing to work. Individuals with serious digestive disorders may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. If you suffer from digestive problems preventing you from working, you’ll benefit from consulting with a trusted SSDI attorney.
The Los Angeles attorneys at Disability Advocates Group have extensive experience helping clients with digestive disorders obtain Social Security benefits. When you work with Disability Advocates Group, you can rest assured we will handle every aspect of your claim.
Are Digestive Disorders Eligible for SSDI Benefits?
Yes, when the symptoms of a person’s digestive disorders are severe enough they’re unable to work for at least 12 months, they may be eligible for SSDI benefits. The digestive tract is lengthy, extending from a person’s mouth to his or her anus. The digestive tract is also connected with other organs, such as a person’s liver, pancreas, and gallbladder, all of which aid the digestive process.
When a person experiences changes in bowel habits, bloody stools, severe abdominal pain, and unexpected, excessive weight loss, these symptoms could be symptoms of a severe digestive disorder. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms or other digestive symptoms that concern you, you’ll benefit from pursuing medical care. If you’re diagnosed with a digestive disorder that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Types of Digestive Disorders Listed in the Blue Book
The Social Security Administration uses the Blue Book manual to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. The Blue Book contains multiple listings of medical digestive conditions eligible for benefits, categorized by bodily system. The gastrointestinal (GI) section of the Blue Book lists the following GI disorders eligible for benefits:
- Short bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
- Hepatic (liver) dysfunction
- Liver transplant
- Crohn’s disease
- Extreme weight loss caused by a digestive disorder
- Chronic liver disease
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging requiring a blood transfusion
Symptoms of Digestive Disorders
Obtaining a definitive diagnosis of a digestive disorder listed in the Blue Book won’t guarantee eligibility for disability benefits. However, if you’ve undergone a liver transplant, you will be approved automatically. For other medical conditions, each condition includes a list of specific medical criteria you’ll need to prove through your medical records.
For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you’ll need to provide the Social Security office with medical documentation confirming you have a bowel obstruction. The obstruction must be confirmed by medical diagnostic imaging or a surgical procedure and require hospitalization or surgery. The obstruction must occur twice, at least 60 days apart, within six months. Alternatively, you’ll be able to meet the requirements by proving you have two eligible complications from Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms of GI diseases can include lactose intolerance, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and severe constipation. Many digestive disorders are treatable through surgical or medical treatment. Social Security examiners will consider the duration and severity of the GI disorders after the patient has received medical treatment. If the condition prevents the applicant from working, even after completing medication, therapy, surgery, and other prescribed medical treatment, they may be eligible for benefits.
What If My Digestive Condition Isn’t Listed in the Blue Book?
You may still be eligible for benefits if your digestive disorder isn’t specifically listed in the Blue Book. However, you will need to qualify for benefits through a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. The assessment will ask questions about the different types of limitations you may have due to your digestive disorder. The Social Security Disability claims examiner will work with a Disability Determination Service (DDS) consultant to arrange a consultation.
The consultant will examine your doctor’s notes, medical records, and other supplemental materials to determine the extent of the physical limitations you’re experiencing due to your GI disorder. The Social Security Administration may ask your physician to conduct the RFC by determining whether he or she thinks you’ll be able to work for the next 12 months. If the results of the RFC indicate you’re unable to work in the next 12 months, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Representing Clients Throughout the SSDI Application and Appeals Process
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to individuals who require financial assistance because of serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, many first-time applications for SSDI benefits are denied by the Social Security Administration. Many claims are denied because the applicant didn’t include enough supporting documentation proving their digestive disorder or other medical condition prevents them from working.
Disability Advocates Group will help you submit a thorough application for benefits and obtain supplemental evidence of how your digestive disorder impacts your ability to work and engage in day-to-day activities. Our legal team is also prepared to appeal your case if your claim is denied. If you’ve received a notice that your claim has been denied, you only have a short period to request a reconsideration of your case. The sooner you reach out to the experienced attorneys at Disability Advocates Group, the sooner we can determine why your claim was denied and begin addressing the appeal.
Helping Clients Successfully Apply for SSDI Benefits
The application process for disability benefits can be challenging and lengthy. The attorneys at Disability Advocates Group will help you gather the medical records you need to prove you’ve been diagnosed with a digestive tract disorder. Diagnostic tests can include MRIs, blood chemistry, CT scans, colonoscopy and endoscopy reports, and other appropriate testing.
We can also help you ensure your medical records carefully document all of the symptoms you experience, resulting in your inability to continue working. If you haven’t been seen by an expert, such as a gastroenterologist, we can help you arrange a visit. A gastroenterologist’s diagnosis will carry more weight than a diagnosis from a family physician or internist.
Learn More About How We Can Help You Obtain SSDI Benefits
If your digestive disorder severely affects your life and has left you unable to maintain employment, you may be eligible for SSDI benefits. Whether you would like to apply for benefits for the first time or you need to appeal a denial of your claim, Disability Advocates Group is here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our Los Angeles SSDI attorneys to schedule a complimentary case evaluation.