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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
Toll Free 888-904-6847
Call 508-283-5500
Fax 508-309-6954

Do You Meet Social Security Disability Requirements for Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease refers to a group of autoimmune diseases which affect the colon and the small intestine. These diseases include:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Lymphocytic colitis
  • Collagenous colitis
  • Ischemic colitis
  • Diversion colitis
  • Indeterminate colitis
  • Behçet's disease

The two most common of these conditions are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the lining of the colon and rectum. Crohn’s disease can attack any area of the digestive system and affects the entire bowel wall.

Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease can include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Weight loss

Lack of adequate nutrition due to inflammatory bowel disease may cause:

  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Liver disease 
  • Skin infection

A colonoscopy is necessary to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, repairing damage, and preventing flare-ups. Severe cases may require surgery.

Inflammatory bowel disease is listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book impairment listing under section 5.06. The listing does not distinguish between the various disorders that qualify as inflammatory bowel diseases.  

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for inflammatory bowel disease, an applicant must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The patient has an obstruction of the small intestine or colon that has been diagnosed via surgery or imaging techniques and has required hospitalization on at least two occasions within a six-month period that are at least 60 days apart, or
  • The patient has experienced at least 2 of the following conditions within a six-month period, despite following the doctor’s treatment plan: 
    • The patient has severe anemia.
    • The patient has low blood levels of the protein serum albumen.
    • The patient experiences a mass in the abdomen that causes pain and cramping that cannot be completely controlled by medication. The mass was present at least twice in a six-month period, with incidents being 60 days apart.
    • The patient experienced at two episodes of pelvic floor disease with a draining abscess or fistula and pain that did not respond to prescribed medication. The occurrences occurred within a six-month period and were at least 60 days apart.
    • The patient experienced two or more occasions of unintended weight loss of 10 percent or more from baseline.
    • The patient requires a feeding tube to meet basic nutritional needs.

If stomach pain, diarrhea, and other complications from inflammatory bowel disease have made it impossible for you to work, you may qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, about 70% of qualified applicants are denied SSDI when they submit their applications for the first time. For more information about why so many Social Security claims are denied and how a Boston disability benefits lawyer can help, request a free copy of Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.

To schedule a free consultation with a Massachusetts SSDI lawyer, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.


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