One often-overlooked source of disability is digestive disorders. While all of us struggle with nausea, stomachaches, or gastrointestinal distress on occasion, some individuals suffer from digestive pains and difficulties so severe that they regularly interrupt their daily lives or prevent them from doing the work that they love. Yet, all too often, they fail to consider whether such disorders may qualify them to receive disability benefits to cover medical treatment and support. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security lawyers can assist Massachusetts residents in pursuing these types of claims.Digestive Disorders and SSDI
In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a medical condition, your condition and symptoms must be severe. One method that the SSA uses to evaluate severity is through its Listing of Impairments, also known as its Blue Book. If an individual has a medical condition that meets or equals an Impairment Listing, he or she is presumptively qualified to receive disability benefits.
Listing 5.0 in the Listing of Impairments is specifically directed at Digestive Disorders. It sets forth certain disorders that should qualify for benefits, including:
- Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging that requires a blood transfusion;
- Inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS);
- Crohn’s disease;
- Chronic liver disease or liver transplant; and
- Any digestive disorder resulting in significant weight loss.
For each of these conditions, the individual must also meet certain qualifications specific to the disorder itself. An overview of all of these requirements is beyond the scope of this article, although a disability benefits attorney can easily help you identify the disorder and corresponding requirements that pertain to your medical condition under Listing 5.0. Additionally, even if your medical condition does not meet a precise Impairment Listing, it may still qualify you for benefits under the separate residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment process, which comprises a holistic evaluation of your condition and the extent to which it restricts your daily functioning.
Initial denials of SSDI applications are surprisingly common and not always indicative of the strength of your overall application or the severity of your medical condition. You may be denied due to lack of adequate medical records or failure to specify how you meet a certain listing requirement. Your denial notice will give you insight into the problems with your application. Once you determine why you were denied, the next step is to address the inadequacies in your application and file a request for reconsideration. After proceeding through a request for reconsideration, which is often denied, you can seek a hearing before an appeals officer where you will have the opportunity to present additional evidence to support your claim.Legal Guidance on Pursuing Government Benefits in Massachusetts
Dealing with a digestive disorder can be physically and mentally draining. You may be subjected to pain and discomfort that interfere with your day-to-day life, or the embarrassment that comes from an unpredictable digestive system. When these complications are so severe as to impede your ability to work, it is important to consider the possibility of a disability application. From the Boston office of Kantrovitz & Associates, our government benefits attorneys can help individuals throughout Massachusetts assess their SSDI eligibility and evaluate their options. If you face requests for additional information or an erroneous denial, we can advocate on your behalf on appeal. Contact our office for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online. We represent individuals throughout the Merrimack River area, as well as in Plymouth, Suffolk, Norfolk, Middlesex, and Essex Counties.