Picture of Ted Smith Attorney at Law

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is a type in inflammatory bowel disease of the digestive system. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has listed it as a disease for which a person my receive SSA disability benefits. [Listing of Impairments 5.06-Inflammatory Bowel Disease.] So what is Crohn’s? Does a diagnoses of Crohn’s entitle me to SSA disability benefits?

Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease is a condition which causes swelling (physicians call it “inflammation”) in any part of digestive tract. While the tract starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum, the most common section of the tract affected by Crohn’s is the end part of the small intestine. The swelling can cause the intestine (also called the bowel) to empty frequently which is the reason for diarrhea. With diarrhea also comes severe abdominal pain. Sadly, with this disease, there is more than just diarrhea and abdominal pain. SSA recognizes that the victims of Crohn’s often have a multitude of other medical issues related to the Crohn’s. SSA calls these other medical issues “extraintestinal manifestations”. They include, for example hepatobiliary dieases such as pancreatic; urologic disease such as kidney stones, skin issues and non-destructive arthritis. Sometimes, these “add-on” illnesses are worse than the Crohn’s.

There are two ways to get an award of SSA disability benefits for Crohn’s disease. Under both methods, you must have a diagnosis of Crohn’s by an endoscopy, biopsy, or another appropriate medically acceptable imaging study or findings during an operation. The first method is to have the same condition which is set out in the listing under the SSA regulations. This means that the Crohn’s must have caused either an obstruction in the small intestine or colon or have two of the conditions listed in the regulation in the same 6 month period despite treatment. These conditions include 1.) a clinically documented abdominal mass; 2.) involuntary weight loss; 3.) low serum albumin; 4.) anemia; 5.) perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula or 6.) need for supplemental daily nutrition via a feeding tube or central venous catheter.

The second method to qualify for SSA disability benefits, if the Crohn’s is not accompanied by two of the six conditions set out above or if the Crohn’s has not caused an obstruction is prove that the extraintestinal manifestations limit your ability so much that your functional capacity will not allow you to do your past work and any other work in the national economy.

Sometimes the medication required to control the Crohn’s can cause serious side effects. For example, adalimumal, taken by injection, to help reduce the effects of Crohn’s can expose the patient to risks of serous infections. This occurs because the medicine lowers the ability immune system to fight infections.

Crohn’s is a terrible disease. There is no known cure. It can serve as the basis for a favorable award of SSA disability benefits.

If you would like to discuss your Social Security Disability case, give me a call, Indianapolis Attorney Ted Smith, 317 575-4155 or just compete the contact form and I will call you!