Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of the bowel and is classified under inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). An inflamed digestive tract lining can cause abdominal pain, fatigue, severe diarrhea, and weight loss. You may also experience life-threatening complications if the disease spreads to the deeper layers of the affected area.
While there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms and sometimes bring about long-term remission, there's not a known cure for Crohn’s, making it a difficult condition to manage. Some people respond favorably to treatments; others are disabled by the disease and can’t work.
If this happens, obtaining a solid and factual diagnosis of Crohn’s will be helpful in obtaining disability benefits for this condition.
Tips for Obtaining SS Disability for Crohn’s Disease
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives your disability application for Crohn’s disease, a claims examiner looks for certain evidence. While it’s important to include information about your symptoms, what’s critical is showing that your disease interferes with your ability to sustain gainful employment and is, above all, what the examiner wants to see.
Here are some tips for better ensuring an approved claim:
Document your symptoms
Getting a doctor’s diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is a critical first step in receiving benefits for this condition. However, a diagnosis doesn’t guarantee your application will be approved. It’s important that your medical records document the clinical signs and symptoms that led to the diagnosis and detail the ways in which those symptoms have been debilitating. You want to include the unpredictability of Crohn’s, the frequency of your symptoms, and how your circumstances keep you from holding down a job.
Additionally, if you were able to work previously, your documentation needs to explain why the pain and symptoms are preventing you from doing so now. For example, you may cite that Crohn’s has now affected a new part of your body, or you suffer from additional complications of the disease.
While describing your condition in great detail might feel embarrassing, it’s important for the SSA examiner to have this information. These examiners aren't doctors, and may not understand the severity of this condition or how it affects you on a daily basis. Thus, including details about how your symptoms impact your daily life and your ability to work is critical to a successful claim.
Prepare a successful claims application
The SSA uses specific criteria to determine whether a claimant’s application for Crohn’s disease will be approved. This criteria may seem technical and not include all of the symptoms you experience. Thus, it’s important to keep a journal of the events and flare-ups that restrict you from enjoying your daily routine, leaving the house, or holding a job. This journal can be used to help you fill out the application, so an SSA examiner understands how the symptoms impact your life.
Additionally, a benefits application for Crohn’s or any other condition can take from 4–8 months to be processed, so it’s recommended that you start the process early. It’s likely that your first application will be denied, so you’ll want to request an appeal within the 60-day deadline. Many people who’ve applied for benefits don't appeal a denied claim. Either they give up, file too late, or file a new claim. These are mistakes you should avoid. The appeals process offers you the best chance of a winning claim, so if yours is denied, request an appeal immediately.
Hire an attorney
Having a Social Security (SS) disability attorney advocating for you can often make the difference between a successful claim and one that’s denied. Statistics show that applicants who seek benefits from SS are more likely to win their claim if they have legal representation. This is, in part, because a disability attorney understands the type of evidence the SSA wants to see on the application.
Most importantly, if your first claim is denied, a disability attorney can help with the appeals process. Most claimants are denied the first time they apply for benefits because there's often critical, convincing information left out of their medical records. A disability attorney can help you gather the medical records and documentation needed for your claim, as well as alert you to what information might be missing from those records.
We Can Help You File for Disability
If your Crohn’s disease has left you unable to work and you need disability benefits, contact Cuddigan Law to advocate on your behalf. We can help increase the chances of getting your claim approved. We also handle SS disability claims for clients who need help with their applications, or the appeals process if their claim was denied. Fill out our online form today.