Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can cause chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, often requires long-term management. Indeed, although there is an array of tools to regulate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, there is currently no cure.
This form of IBD can vary greatly in severity among individuals. Some people may have only mild and occasional symptoms, while others have debilitating and frequent symptoms. These often include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue.
The symptoms of your Crohn’s disease may be severe enough to have an impact on your quality of life. They can also increase the risk of additional health problems.
Given the long-term nature of Crohn’s disease, it may be worth looking into disability benefits. This can help offset management costs and help pay for unforeseen expenses surrounding potential complications of the disease.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) includes Crohn’s disease in the category of IBD. This section can be found in the Disability Assessment Criteria of the “Digestive System – Adult” SSA.
Although Crohn’s disease primarily affects the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, it can affect other organ systems and cause additional symptoms, including:
- neurological symptoms
- inflammatory arthritis
- mouth ulcers
- sight problems
Complications associated with the progressive forms of the disease can interfere with your daily life and even make labor difficult. These problems could make you eligible for disability benefits. You can claim Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if:
- you have a mental or physical disability directly related to a health problem (you will need a formal diagnosis from a doctor)
- your condition has severely restricted work-related activities for at least 12 months
- you earn less than $ 1,310 per month
- your condition has reached a point where you expect work-related activities to be interrupted for at least 12 months
- your outlook is bad
In addition to providing basic proof of your condition and possible limitations, you may also need to show detailed documents about your medical history.
According to the SSDI Resource Center, you may need one or more of the following to qualify for disability benefits:
- hospitalization or surgery for blockage of the small intestine or colon
- a fistula or a palpable abdominal mass not controlled with narcotic pain relievers
- anemia associated with hemoglobin readings below 10.0 g / dL
- severe weight loss of 10 percent or more, or an extremely low body mass index (BMI) (less than 18.0)
- evidence of malnutrition with some additional nutritional requirements
It is also important to note that you may need to prove that these effects occurred at least twice (60 days apart) in a 6 month period.
The benefits received from the SSA are monetary. This is designed to help cover the costs of lost wages, increased treatments, and surgeries.
The exact amount you receive may vary, as part of it is based on your average lifetime income. You can get an estimate of this amount directly from the SSA before you apply for disability benefits.
After receiving benefits, the SSA will check your progress. You may need to submit additional documents to prove your disability, upon request.
As a rule, SSA wants beneficiaries to be able to work again. Once you return to work, you will no longer be able to receive SSDI benefits. If your condition prevents you from continuing to work, you may receive benefits indefinitely.
SSDI is granted by the SSA. You can apply by phone, online, or in person at a local SSA office. Whichever way you choose to apply, you will need to bring the following with you in order to complete your application:
- proof of diagnosis, including documents from your doctor, imaging tests and endoscopy results, if applicable
- the results of medical and laboratory tests that have been performed in the past year
- proof of prescription drugs needed for your condition
- information about all the doctors and other healthcare professionals you see for treatment.
- recent W-2 forms from the previous year (if you are self-employed, you will need to provide all income tax return documents)
- financial records, including bank statements, mortgage or rent statements, pay stubs, and insurance policies
- birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship
Once you are approved, you will begin receiving benefits on the first day of the sixth month in which the SSA determines that your disability has started.
Disability benefits are a great help for people with severe forms of Crohn’s disease. As the disease progresses, treatment can become more expensive. The disruptive and uncomfortable symptoms can also affect your ability to work as much as before.
Keep in mind that even if you are not eligible for all of the standard IBD benefits, the SSA may still allow you to receive a medical allowance to help cover your treatment costs.
You also have the right to appeal your application if you believe you are still eligible for SSDI despite the denial.
For more information, you can contact SSA’s SSDI Services at: 800-772-1213.