Slepian Smith, PLLC

Which digestive disorders can lead to disability benefits?

Severe digestive disorders can impair a person's ability to work and function normally, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) knows this. That's why sufferers can be approved for Social Security Disability benefits if they are able to meet the SSA's application requirements.

Digestive diseases are found under Listing 5.0 of the SSA's Listing Of Impairments and include:

  • Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging from any cause that requires blood transfusion
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn's disease
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Weight loss caused by any digestive disorder
  • Liver transplants

Unfortunately, with the exception of liver transplants, it takes more than just being diagnosed with one of these conditions to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. For each, certain complex requirements must be proven with medical evidence to meet the SSA's listing.

For example, the listing for weight loss caused by any digestive disorder requires that the applicant's BMI is less than 17.50 after being calculated in at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart within a consecutive six-month period. Additionally, the applicant must be continuing treatment as prescribed.

Liver transplants are an exception. Because it is considered such a serious condition, a liver transplant is found on the SSA's list of Compassionate Allowances, which means that it automatically qualifies applicants for benefits after documentation is provided showing the diagnosis.

If the criteria of the listing for one of the conditions above (excluding liver transplant) cannot be met, it may still be possible to qualify for benefits with a medical-vocational allowance. The SSA will look at a variety of factors, including past work, age, education and medical condition when making its decision.

Keep in mind that certain digestive disorders are not found under Listing 5.0, including diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease.

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