Crohn’s disease is a cyclical disorder that includes flare-ups—which are often intense—and periods of remission. When a flare-up occurs, it has the potential to be debilitating and can limit or completely take away your ability to work.
If your condition is preventing you from earning a living, you might be eligible for disability benefits. A disability attorney from the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you understand how to get disability for Crohn’s disease.
In order to qualify for benefits, we must show the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your condition is severe enough to disrupt your life and prevent you from earning a living. We can help you bolster the strength of your benefit application, giving you a better chance at winning approval.
Our legal team has a strong track record of winning disability benefits for our clients. This includes many who have Crohn’s disease and other forms of digestive disorders. We would love the opportunity to make you our next happy client. We offer free initial consultations so you can meet with an attorney and have all your questions answered. Call 866-628-8179 now for an appointment.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of irritable bowel disease (IBD) in which the lining of your small and large intestines develop small breaks that can become inflamed. In more severe cases, it can affect your entire digestive system. The most common symptoms including rapid weight loss, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, fever, and loss of appetite. Its effects can be so debilitating at times that the sufferer is unable to perform any meaningful physical activity.
What makes the condition even more challenging is its unpredictable nature. It can have periods of remission that persist for weeks or even months before flaring up in an instant without warning. This is a big part of why it is so challenging to work when you have a severe case of Crohn’s disease.
How Do I Get Disability for Crohn’s Disease?
To get approved for disability benefits for Crohn’s disease, we have to show that you meet the criteria under the SSA’s disability listings, or Blue Book.
The SSA created the Blue Book as a master list of the medical conditions it considers disabling. Under each listed condition, the Blue Book provides the diagnostic and medical criteria that you must meet to receive benefits.
Blue Book listing 5.06 sets out the criteria for IBD disorders, including Crohn’s disease. It states that you must meet at least one of the following two conditions to satisfy the listing.
First, we must show evidence of bowel inflammation so severe it causes obstructions in your large or small intestines. Furthermore, any obstructions must be significant enough to require hospitalization or surgery. This must have occurred on at least two occasions during a six-month period, with the episodes happening at least 60 days apart.
If you do not suffer from bowel obstructions, we can still help you qualify for benefits. We must provide proof of two or more of the following occurring during a 60-day period:
- Low levels of serum albumin;
- The presence of a tender, palpable abdominal mass;
- Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula;
- Involuntary weight loss resulting in a 10 percent drop in body weight or BMI; or
- The need for supplementary nutrition via a gastrostomy or a central venous catheter.
When our team evaluates your case, we first determine if your condition meets the Blue Book listing based on the above criteria. If so, we gather and assemble the medical evidence we need to show this to the SSA. The SSA will look for clinical and lab results, imaging studies, and endoscopy results when they evaluate your claim. They may also accept biopsy results or surgical findings, if you have undergone an operation to treat your Crohn’s disease.
If you do not meet the Blue Book listing, we can still help you win benefits by completing a residual functional capacity (RFC) test.
How Will an RFC Test Help Me Qualify for Benefits?
Qualifying for benefits through an RFC test is not as cut and dry as a Blue Book listing. However, it offers the most objective source of evidence if you do not meet the SSA’s strict Blue Book criteria.
The RFC test measures the degree to which your condition impacts your functional capacity, meaning your ability to work and carry out activities of daily living. Your treating physician fills out the test using the information gleaned from your medical exams, diagnoses, and the doctor’s own observations of your physical and mental condition.
If your Crohn’s disease prevents you from walking, standing, sitting, or lifting during your flare-ups, we can make a case to the SSA that you qualify for benefits. We have used the RFC test to help many clients win benefits and know how to present the evidence from this test in a manner that is thorough and convincing.
Does the SSA Have Other Requirements for Disability Applicants?
There are two separate disability programs. One is for those with substantial work histories who have paid into the Social Security system, while the other helps those with low incomes and limited assets. Each program has additional requirements you must meet for the SSA to consider you disabled.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a true insurance program, meaning you pay “premiums” through your payroll taxes each time you earn a paycheck. You are only eligible for benefits if you have earned work credits by maintaining a steady employment history and paying into the system.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a separate program for the needy. In order to qualify for SSI, you must earn below a certain amount of income each month and also have few personal assets.
Our attorneys can evaluate your household budget and financial situation to determine if you qualify for SSDI or SSI.
Call 866-628-8179 Today for a Free Consultation With a Disability Attorney.
The team at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, can help you win disability for Crohn’s disease. Call 866-628-8179 now for your free consultation.