Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the colon and the intestines. While over 200,000 people are diagnosed with IBS annually, experts still do not know what causes this disorder. When talking about disability, one question comes to mind: is IBS a disability?
IBS manifests physical symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, and stomach pain. Women are more likely to suffer from this condition than men. Patients with IBS can often control their symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes, enabling them to lead a normal life.
However, symptoms can hinder patients from engaging in many daily activities, including holding down a job. If you suffer from IBS to the point where you cannot work, you may be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The law allows you to appeal if you have been denied IBS disability benefits.
Proving That IBS Prevents You From Working
The SSA's current Listing of Impairments (Blue Book) does not list Irritable Bowel Syndrome as an impairment for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. However, if you can demonstrate that your IBS symptoms meet or equal a listed impairment, you may still qualify for SSDI.
SSA follows a step-by-step evaluation process to determine if you are disabled and qualify for benefits.
- Step One: Consider your work activity. If you participate in gainful employment, you cannot be considered disabled.
- Step Two and Three: Evaluate the intensity of the impairment.
- Step Four: Consider your residual functional capacity and previous relevant work experience. You will not be considered disabled if you can still perform your previous work.
- Step Five: Measure your residual functional capacity, age, education, and work experience to see if you can adjust to other jobs. If you can adapt to other work, you will not qualify. However, if you cannot adjust to other jobs, you will be considered disabled.
Requirements To Review The Claim
When you submit a claim for Social Security disability benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the SSA will ask for evidence when reviewing your claim. You have to present evidence and documents, including the following:
- A medical history documenting the severity and duration of your IBS (this should include endoscopy, biopsy, x-rays, CT scans, and other imaging or operative findings).
- Describe your long-term outlook, including how your conditions prevent you from working, in medical reports from your physician.
- Medications, therapy, surgeries, etc., with documented side effects contributing to your impairment.
Don't get discouraged if your SSDI claim for IBS has been denied. The first time you submit a disability claim, it's not uncommon for it to be rejected. SSA rejects most claims simply because the applicant did not supply the information they needed to make an informed decision.
If your claim is denied, you can still appeal the Social Security Administration's decision under the law. Are you interested in learning more about the various options and programs that help people with disabilities? Read more of Disability Help’s resources on our website!