Is IBS Considered A Disability? Does IBS Qualify For Disability Benefits?

Published on: May 20, 2024

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, afflicts as many as 45 million people Americans. IBS can cause debilitating symptoms brought on by alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

If you cannot work because of symptoms brought on by IBS, you may qualify for disability benefits through one of the disability programs of the Social Security Administration. However, qualifying for disability benefits can be challenging without only about one-third of the applications submitted annually approved for benefits after the initial review process.

The disability advocates at Disability Experts of Florida want to help someone with IBS qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. Here is an explanation of the disability programs and how to qualify for them when you have IBS that prevents you from working.

What is IBS?

IBS affects your gastrointestinal system and causes painful and uncomfortable symptoms that include the following:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain.
  • Excessive bloating and gas.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, or alternating bouts of each of them.

People with IBS frequently complain of experiencing as though they cannot empty their bowels.

The precise cause of IBS is unknown, but researchers believe the reason to be a malfunction in the way some peoples’ brains and gastrointestinal systems work together. Other theories of the causes of IBS include the following:

  • Food intolerance, including food allergies and sensitivity.
  • Type of bacteria in a person’s intestinal system. Bacteria are common in your intestinal system, but some researchers believe the type of bacteria and their amount may cause IBS.
  • Infection of the gastrointestinal system may cause some people to develop IBS after they recover from the infection.

When you seek medical attention for IBS, doctors rely on your medical history and testing to rule out other medical conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

While there is no cure for IBS at this time, doctors may recommend a combination of treatments to manage the debilitating symptoms of the condition, including:

  • Prescribed medications
  • Diet modification
  • Exercise
  • Relaxation techniques

If stress or anxiety worsens IBS symptoms, your doctor may recommend behavioral therapy or hypnotherapy.

Does IBS Qualify For Disability Benefits?

If your IBS symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working and earning a living, you may qualify for disability benefits, but there are a few things you need to know about Social Security disability. The first thing to learn about is the definition Social Security uses to determine if you are, in fact, disabled.

A disability for purposes of SSI and SSDI is a medically determinable physical or mental health impairment, or a combination of impairments, that prevents you from doing substantial gainful activity. The impairment or impairments must be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months or result in death.

Substantial gainful activities are mental and physical work activities that you receive compensation for performing. Standing, sitting, and walking are a few examples of substantial activities.

You also must meet the financial requirements for each disability benefits program. SSDI requires a sufficiently long work history and payment of Social Security taxes on the money you earned.

In contrast, SSI does not require a work history because it is a need-based program. You must have little or no income and own resources that do not exceed $2,000 in value. The resource limit for couples where each of them is eligible for SSI benefits cannot be more than $3,000.

How To Qualify For Disability Benefits With IBS?

If you meet the financial requirements for SSDI, SSI, or both, the question remains: Is IBS a disability? One method of proving that IBS is severe enough to interfere with work activities is the Blue Book.

The Blue Book lists impairments that Social Security determined are severe enough to meet the disability definition. Although IBS is not a listed impairment, you can still qualify for disability benefits based on symptoms, such as abdominal pain, cramping, and bowel movement difficulties, and the impact they have on your ability to perform work-related activities.

Your medical records are essential to document that your medical condition, and specifically the symptoms that you experience, are severe enough to interfere with your ability to work. A disability advocate at Disability Experts of Florida works with your medical providers to ensure that your claim for disability benefits is supported by medical records and other documentation to prove your medical condition qualifies for disability benefits.

Work With A Dedicated Team Of Disability Advocates

Disability Experts of Florida has a skilled team of experienced and knowledgeable disability advocates to help you with a claim for benefits or to appeal a denial of a claim. To learn more about how Disability Experts of Florida make a difference for you, contact them today for a free consultation with a disability advocate.



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