You May Qualify for Disability If You Are Unable to Absorb Nutrients Due to Bowel Issues

You’ve had trouble holding a job for a while now, but it’s not your fault. Between traveling back and forth to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha for IV treatments and recovering from surgery, you’re completely exhausted. After your bowel resection, it’s hard to imagine feeling well enough to go back to work again—but that doesn’t stop bill collectors from leaving voicemail messages.

Receiving Disability Payments for Short Bowel Syndrome Is Possible

Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a complication of surgical bowel resection. The condition occurs when a patient has more than one-half of the small intestine removed, causing a reduction in the ability to absorb nutrition from food. As a result, SBS patients often require long-term nutritional treatment through an IV and may even require a permanent indwelling central venous catheter. In some cases, patients with SBS supplement their normal food and drink with IV nutrition, eventually weaning off the IV when they are able to sustain themselves with food alone. However, this is a best-case scenario that can take years to achieve.

Determining Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits

In order for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a determination on your short bowel disability, it will need:

  • A copy of the operative report of intestinal resection, including details of surgical findings during and after the procedure
  • Medical records that provide an overview of your hospitalization(s) before and after surgery
  • MRIs, CT scans, or other postoperative images that accurately show the amount of small intestine you have left after surgery
  • Documentation that shows that you are dependent on daily IV supplements to provide most of your nutrition

The SSA understands that it can be difficult to earn a living while you are recovering from a bowel resection surgery. Patients with SBS can collect disability payments for as long as they remain dependent on daily nutritional supplementation through a central line (and most of their nutritional requirements are met with IV treatment). If you are having trouble making your case to the SSA, click the contact link on this page to find out how we can help.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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