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Is IBS A Disability? – How to Apply and Get Benefits

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  • Is IBS A Disability? – How to Apply and Get Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not consider IBS a disability. However, if an individual is experiencing IBS to a point where they are unable to work, they can apply for SSD benefits. 

People may experience different symptoms, such as:

  • Cramping
  • Bloating and gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain

IBS is a disorder that often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. However, up to a quarter of people in the United States experience IBS health problems.  

April was IBS awareness month to spread knowledge for people who are experiencing irritable bowel syndrome disability. This way they are more likely to go for medical treatment. Lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet can go a long way to help those with irritable bowel syndrome feel better and get back to their normal routines.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) comprises a variety of symptoms that lay an adverse impact on the digestive system. It is regarded as a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain, excessive gas, diarrhea, constipation, and cramps. According to the researchers, the percentage of Americans who experience IBS in 2021 ranges from 7% to 16%.

What are the different types of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) disability?

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), doctors diagnose IBS if you have symptoms for at least 6 months without a break. IBS is categorized based on the type of bowel movement problems that an individual faces. 

People may experience normal bowel movements on some days, yet have difficult or painful bowel habits on other days. There are three types of IBS:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C): In this type, the stool becomes lumpy and hard.
  • IBS accompanied with diarrhea (IBS-D): The stool becomes watery and loose in this case.
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): In this type of syndrome, an individual will experience both the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea.    

IBS is considered to be a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. This disease affects both the functioning of the brain and the gut, as the two are unable to work together. It makes the digestive system extra sensitive, leading to often-severe abdominal pain.

The beginning of colon cancer is a small noncancerous lump called a polyp. With time, the polyp can develop into colon cancer. Older adults with severe IBS may begin to develop polyps that lead to colon cancer. However, IBS can affect people of any age.

Can you get disability for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is not mentioned in the SSA’s Blue Book list of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. However, some extreme cases may be regarded as genuine cases in which you are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). 

IBS Disability BenefitsTo qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other disability programs, you must have evidence of your medical treatment and that your health condition is preventing you from doing your daily life activities.

It is essential to consult the Blue Book that will help you understand the requirements for IBS disability benefits. The medical documentation that you submit must prove that you are unable to engage in any paid work. 

Some of the digestive system disorders that are listed as a disability by the SSA are gastrointestinal hemorrhage, liver dysfunction, short bowel syndrome, malnutrition, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Several factors affect eligibility for the IBS disability benefits such as age, level of education, work experience, and others. These factors help to determine whether you could potentially perform light work or sedentary work.

How does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have an impact on your body?

Although there are no specific tests for IBS, some blood tests may help make an IBS diagnosis. Furthermore, it may also identify other problems such as celiac disease. 

People who experience IBS disorder may suffer from contraction of the colon muscles. This can cause severe pain and/or cramps. Those with IBS tend to have more bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that cause different symptoms. 

IBS is popularly known as irritable bowel, irritable colon, spastic colon, and nervous stomach. In addition to the pain and cramps, people may experience symptoms such as anxiety, tension, and emotional stress.

Which age group is most affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

People who are in their late teens or early 40s may experience IBS. Women experience more symptoms of IBS in comparison to males. IBS is more common among people who have a family history of IBS, food intolerance, emotional distress, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or digestive tract infection. 

Some of the common things that may trigger your IBS symptoms are specific foods, medications, and emotional trauma. Sometimes, irritable bowel syndrome is regarded as the gut’s response to chronic stress.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with IBS disability may ask for accommodations. People who are experiencing IBS may ask for help in the following reasonable cases:

  • The ability to work from home
  • A modified work schedule
  • Quick and easy access to a bathroom
  • A quiet working environment that minimizes stress

Sometimes, it may be a challenging task to discuss your health issues with anyone. If you are having a tough time with IBS, there are support groups such as the Job Accommodations Network (JAN) and IBS Patient Support Group.

Filing an appeal for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) disability

A disability determination letter is a document from the SSA that declares their decision about your disability status. It also indicates which appeal you can file. Four types of appeals must be filed within 60 days of rejection of the disability claim.

A disability lawyer at a reputable law firm might be able to provide overall guidance and help you file an appeal if you were denied benefits. These professionals have in-depth knowledge about which appeal is most likely to give a favorable outcome. If you were denied or want to submit an initial application, don’t wait. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get on the road to recovery from your IBS.