What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic medical condition that affects the intestines. It is considered to be a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is known by several names, including colitis, granulomatous enteritis and regional enteritis. Crohn’s disease can cause painful ulcers in both the small and large intestines. However, symptoms may spread to any part of the digestive system, including the mouth and the rectum.
The primary symptom of Crohn’s disease is inflammation in the lower portion of the small intestine, which is known as the ileum. The inflammation usually begins on the interior surface but may penetrate into the lining of the intestines. When the inflammation is serious, it may cause pain and frequent bowel movements. Other common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid weight loss
- Bowel obstruction
- Intestinal perforation
In many cases, patients do not experience symptoms continuously. Instead, come and go during episodes of remission and relapse. Because these symptoms are common to many other intestinal disorders, it can be difficult to correctly diagnose Crohn’s disease, and it is often mistaken for ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
When the inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease is minimal, symptomatic treatments are usually recommended, which may include medications to control pain and regulate bowel movements. However, when symptoms are severe, different treatments are implemented in an attempt to force the disease into remission. Antibiotics may be required if bacterial infections have occurred, and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. In severe cases, patients may be asked to undergo surgical treatment.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that Crohn’s disease can be a disabling condition. However, SSA will not automatically find you disabled simply because you suffer from this condition. Under SSA’s rules, there are basically two different ways to show that your Chron’s Disease is disabling:
Option #1: Meet or Equal Listing 5.06 (Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD))
Chron’s Disease is considered a type of IBD.
SSA’s medical listings are essentially a way to screen out and quickly approve the strongest and most clear cut disability cases. However, this means that it is also the hardest and least likely way to win for most people.
Option #2: Show Inability to Sustain Full Time Work
Most people who are awarded disability benefits do not meet or equal a medical listing. Instead, they win by showing that their condition prevents them from doing substantial gainful activity (i.e. full time work). SSA will not just take your word for it that you cannot work. They will want to see medical evidence showing that your condition is long term, severe, and debilitating. SSA will also take into account factors like your age, education, and past work experience in deciding whether you meet this standard.
To discuss SSD and SSI claims or appeals, please call (215) 464-7200 or contact our attorneys using the form below.
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