There may be different ways of defining disability. The SSA may only consider IBS disabling once it prevents you from doing any work. If your medical condition is severe enough to affect your daily functionality, you may qualify for the Social Security Disability Benefits for IBS.
In this blog, we will explain whether you qualify for IBS disability benefits, the criteria of the SSA for IBS, and how you can apply for the disability if it limits you from doing day-to-day work.
Is IBS A Disability?
Yes, IBS qualifies as a disability if the condition is severe for the disabled. To qualify for disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, you must demonstrate that your IBS significantly impairs your ability to work and meet the eligibility criteria set by the relevant disability programs.
The SSA rules have a list of medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits called the Blue Book. IBS is listed in section 5.0 under digestive disorders.
Medical documentation, including detailed records of symptoms, treatments, and their effects, will be crucial in supporting the disability claim. The key factor in determining eligibility for disability benefits is the severity of your symptoms and the functional limitations they impose on your ability to perform substantial gainful activity.
How Does The SSA Define Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder that affects the functioning of the large intestine. It is characterized by a group of symptoms rather than specific structural or biochemical abnormalities.
The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of factors, including abnormal muscle contractions in the colon, increased sensitivity to pain, changes in the gut microbiome, and possible triggers such as stress, diet, or certain foods. While accessing the disability, SSA will see whether the applicant is exhibiting common symptoms such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding, malnutrition, and anemia.
Can You Get Disability Benefits For IBS?
Pursuing disability benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be challenging, as it is generally considered a functional disorder rather than a structural or systemic impairment. In some cases, severe and persistent symptoms make an individual unable to work due to IBS. For those who are able to work, employers are required to provide accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
To qualify for disability benefits, an individual must meet the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration for a disability. This typically involves demonstrating that the IBS symptoms are severe enough to prevent the individual from engaging in any work and are expected to last for at least 12 months.
What Are Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome disability can present with a variety of symptoms, which can vary in frequency and intensity among individuals. Common symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal pain: This is one of the most prevalent symptoms of IBS. The pain can range from mild to severe, often described as cramping or aching. It may occur anywhere in the abdomen and can be relieved by a bowel movement.
- Changes in bowel habits: IBS can cause alterations in bowel movements, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both. Some individuals may experience frequent and urgent bowel movements, while others may have infrequent or difficult-to-pass stools.
- Bloating and gas: Many individuals with IBS experience increased bloating and excessive gas. This can lead to abdominal distension and discomfort.
- Altered stool consistency: Stool consistency can vary in individuals with IBS. Some may have loose, watery stools, while others may have hard, lumpy stools.
- Mucus in the stool: Some people with IBS may notice the presence of mucus in their stools.
- The feeling of incomplete bowel movement: Individuals with IBS may often feel a sense of incomplete evacuation after passing stools or a sensation of fullness in the abdomen.
Common Types of IBS
Four categories of IBS are based on the type of bowel movements experienced by the individual experiencing the syndrome:
- IBS-C: irritable bowel syndrome with constipation
- IBS-D: irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea
- IBS-M: mixed-type irritable bowel syndrome
- IBS-U: unclassified irritable bowel syndrome
VA Disability Rating For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The VA disability rating for IBS will depend on how the impairment of an individual is affecting their daily functionality. It may include work activities and how they perform their activities for daily living.
The VA rates for IBS are at 30%, 10%, or 0% disabling, which will vary according to the medical condition.
- 30% disabling rating means severe diarrhea or constipation with constant abdominal distress.
- A 10% disabling rating means moderate bowel disturbance, and it may get controlled.
- A 0% disabling rating means people who struggle with some episodes of abdominal distress relating to IBS that may occur occasionally. Some mild symptoms may include constipation or infrequent diarrhea.
Eligibility Criteria Of The SSA For Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Disability applicants must submit the medical evidence and documents that will prove their condition is serious and long term thereby preventing them from work. It becomes difficult to show all these proofs to the SSA.
Therefore, you must answer a few questions before you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. Let’s have a look at these questions for which your answer must be YES to be eligible for the benefits.
- Are you missing your work due to your IBS?
Disability benefits will only be given to applicants who are unable to work due to their severe condition. Your irregular bowel movements interfering with work-related activities may increase your chances of approval. Moreover, you are failing to complete your work deadlines because of your IBS. Applicants who can work despite their IBS will not get benefits.
- Are you having medical records to prove the severity of your IBS?
After applying for the benefits, the SSA may send a doctor and will require medical records to prove the severity of your IBS symptoms. If your condition is not improving despite regular medical treatment, your chances of approval will increase.
- Are you facing multiple disabling conditions along with IBS?
If your IBS is accompanied by another condition that is mentioned in the SSA’s Blue Book, the odds of getting approved for the benefits will increase. Get more insights on which disabling conditions will automatically qualify for disability benefits.
- Do you face an advanced stage of IBS?
Many applicants may be at an advanced stage of IBS that cannot be rectified and may cause cancer. In such cases, you may qualify for the benefits.
- Do you fall in the category of over 50 years?
It is easier to get approved for disability benefits if you satisfy the rules of over 50 age. However, you can apply for the benefits at any age.
What To Do When You Meet The Criteria For IBS?
- You can apply if you have been diagnosed with IBS and you exhibit symptoms that are listed in the Blue Book of the SSA. Furthermore, your IBS must prevent you from working.
- You may wait and apply for the benefits later when you are experiencing mild symptoms that are treatable by medication or you are still working.
- You must not apply if you are working and earning approximately $1,400 per month or you can do a job along with your IBS.
What To Do If You Don’t Meet The Criteria For IBS?
If your IBS does not meet the eligibility criteria of the SSA, you may appeal within 60 days of the denial. In the appeal process, you must submit additional medical records and other essential details you missed in the initial application.
How To Apply To Get Approved For Disability With IBS?
The next step after an applicant meets the eligibility criteria of SSA is to apply for Irritable Bowel Syndrome disability benefits. The following are the steps to apply for the disability:
- Gather medical documentation: Collect all relevant medical records, test results, and treatment history related to your IBS. This includes records from doctors, specialists, hospitals, and other healthcare professionals you consulted.
- Review eligibility criteria: Although IBS does not have a specific listing in the Blue Book, you may still be eligible if your symptoms meet the requirements for a functional impairment that prevents you from working.
- Complete the application: Visit the SSA’s official website or contact your local SSA office to start the application process. Fill out the necessary forms, providing accurate and detailed information about your medical condition, symptoms, treatments, and their impact on your daily life and ability to work.
- Include supporting documentation: Attach all relevant medical records, test results, and treatment documentation to support your claim.
- File an appeal: The disability application process can take time, and it’s not uncommon for initial claims to be denied. If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision and provide additional evidence to support your case.
How Much Is a Disability Check For IBS?
The amount of disability benefits will depend on work history and income. The average check for SSDI is nearly $1,300, and the maximum is $3,600 in 2023. You will meet the work requirements of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you have paid taxes for at least 5 of the 10 years.
The maximum monthly benefits for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is $914 in 2023, which depends on the applicant’s income, which must be low.
Need Legal Help? Contact An Experienced Attorney
When a disability claim for Irritable Bowel Syndrome is denied, a Social Security disability lawyer can provide legal assistance. They will carefully review the denial letter and assess the reasons for the denial.
They will then gather and evaluate additional evidence to strengthen the case, such as obtaining further medical documentation, expert opinions, and testimonials from treating physicians. They will prepare a comprehensive and persuasive appeal, ensuring that all necessary forms and supporting documents are properly completed and submitted within the required timeframe.