Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a pathological condition affecting the colon or the large intestine. IBS is quite a common disease condition and affects quite a significant number of individuals. This disease causes pain in the abdomen, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. At times, the symptoms may be severe enough to render an individual disabled. The following article discusses about whether Irritable Bowel Syndrome qualifies for SSD benefits and what are the chances of winning disability for Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. Additionally, this article, discusses about how an experienced SSD attorney can help an individual win disability due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome And Disability
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS as it is commonly called affects the colon or the large intestine resulting in severe abdominal cramping, pain, diarrhea, and constipation. It is a chronic medical condition which needs long term management. Unlike some of the other diseases of the intestines like ulcerative colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not pose a risk for colorectal cancer. Most of the times, the symptoms can be adequately managed by diet control and lifestyle changes and at times medications are used to control symptoms.
In some cases, Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be quite disabling as its symptoms can cause persistent diarrhea and abdominal pain in individuals affected by it. Thus, individuals who have a job which requires them to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time like cashiers, parking lot attendant job, and greeters will have difficulty in performing their tasks effectively due to the need to go to the restroom frequently and inability to stand consistently due to abdominal pain and cramping.
What Are The Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
The root cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not yet known but there are quite a few factors that may cause this disease. The best way to understand it is by knowing how the intestines work. The intestinal walls are lined with muscles that contract and relax in coordinated fashion in order to move the food ingested to the rectum. In cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, this coordination is not present and the muscles contract more than it relaxes causing diarrhea, bloating, or abdominal cramping or it may relax more than it contracts resulting in severe constipation as the food moves slowly from the intestine to the rectum.
Some abnormalities in the gastrointestinal system may also cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome resulting in symptoms of abdominal pain and discomfort due to presence of gas or stool stretching the abdomen.
What Are Symptoms Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Some of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome are variable and are different from individual to individual. Some of the disabling symptoms of IBS are:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Abdominal cramping
- Abdominal bloating
- Formation of Gas
- Persistent diarrhea alternating with constipation
- Mucusy stools
- Frequent bowel movement
Does Irritable Bowel Syndrome Qualify For Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a manual consisting of a detailed list of medical conditions which qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. This manual is known as Blue Book. This manual lists out the medical conditions which according to SSA qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if the claimant meets the specifications that are mentioned in the manual.
Based on this manual, as of now Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not a part of the list of the medical conditions that qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
However, if the claimant is able to prove that he or she is not able to work at any capacity for a consistent period of time due to abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, and other symptoms caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome then the claimant may qualify for disability benefits.
Treating physicians opinion and statements in the medical records about the functional limitations caused due to irritable bowel syndrome matters the most when it comes to qualifying for disability due to IBS.
Your treating physicians opinion on some of the questions listed below can play a vital role in your chances of winning disability benefits due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
How often is the pain or symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome likely to interfere with the attention and concentration necessary to perform simple work tasks. How well are you expected to be able to tolerate work stress?
- Do you have any side effects to medications for irritable bowel syndrome that may affect your ability to work.
- How long can you sit comfortably at one time before needing to get up.
- How long can you sit in an 8-hour working day.
- Will you need a job that allows the opportunity to change between sitting, standing and walking at will.
- Will you require a job with ready access to a bathroom due to the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and are those symptoms likely to cause unscheduled bathroom breaks?
- Will you require additional unscheduled breaks to lie down, change soiled clothing, or rest at unpredictable times.
Role Of An Attorney In Helping You Win Social Security Disability Claims For Irritable Bowel Syndrome Or Ibs
Most of SSD claims for irritable bowel syndrome in which the claimant does not have an attorney get denied in the initial hearing. This is usually because most of the claimants do not have the experience or the knowledge on how to present their case in front of the judge at the time of hearing. Therefore, it is extremely important that a claimant aspiring to get SSD benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome hire an experienced SSD attorney. An SSD attorney has significant experience in handling disability cases and is by far the best person to present the case in front of the judge in the most appropriate manner and is quite familiar with rules of Social Security Administration thus helping the claimant get disability benefits. The attorney also has significant amount of knowledge as to what the judge might require of the claimant during the hearing and what is the other information that needs to be put forth in front of the judge at the time of hearing to win a disability claim for IBS. An SSD attorney gets paid only after the claimant has been granted disability benefit thus the attorney does all he or she can to get the claimant disability benefits
What Are The Chances Winning Social Security Disability Benefits For Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
As mentioned above, the SSA does not recognize Irritable Bowel Syndrome as a medical condition which qualifies for disability benefits. In case, if the claimant has severe enough symptoms prohibiting him or her to work consistently then the claimant may qualify for disability benefits provided the claimant proves to the judge that the medical condition is severe and chronic and has lasted for more than a year without any signs of improvement despite adequate treatment. Most of the times, it is difficult to prove this as the symptoms do not last that long and are intermittent in nature. To prove that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is significant enough to prohibit the claimant from working, detailed medical records need to be furnished before the judge detailing how the disease has interfered with the ability to work consistently at the workplace. Citing an example, if the claimant has severe abdominal pain and cramping such that it prevents him or her to work in an office setting and has reduced the productivity of the claimant then the SSA will take this into consideration in granting disability benefits. If the claimant needs to go to the restroom frequently due to persistent diarrhea as a result of irritable Bowel Syndrome which also adversely affects the productivity, then the SSA will also take that also into consideration. The SSA will scrutinize the medical records provided by the claimant looking for information which details the impact of the disease condition on the working capacity of the claimant. It is necessary that treating physician mentions in the medical records as to how Irritable Bowel Syndrome has affected the workability of the claimant.
An individual who has Irritable Bowel Syndrome which prevents him or her from working productively over a consistent period of time then he or she can qualify for disability benefits. To get approved for Disability Benefits, the claimant should work in close coordination with treating physician along with an experienced SSD attorney so that the case is presented in the best possible way in front of the honorable judge with all possible evidence in the form of medical records and other relevant tests supporting the claim so that the chances of the claimant winning Social Security Disability benefits due to IBS becomes quite bright.