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Can I Receive Disability Benefits If I Have IBS?


Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects more than one in 10 people worldwide. With that in mind, pinning down exactly which symptoms constitute IBS is somewhat difficult, since only 30 percent of those actually experiencing symptoms characteristic of the disease will consult a physician.

So, if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, you may be asking yourself a simple, yet important question: Can I qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits (DIB) if I have IBS?

What Constitutes “Severe”?


Right off the bat, it’s important to understand the likely difficulties you’ll face if IBS is the only condition in your disability claim.

The only way to be eligible for DIB with IBS is to classify your condition as “severe” under the guidelines of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
How do you successfully define and demonstrate “severe” for the SSA? Any severe condition must significantly hinder you from basic functions at work and/or in everyday life. An impairment that substantially limits walking, standing, sitting, communicating effectively, etc. would be considered “severe” in the eyes of the SSA.

In addition, the severity of the IBS must also keep you from making more than $1,220/month (as of 2019) and either have lasted more than a year or be expected to last more than a year.

Proof of IBS’s Impact


Again, herein lies the difficulty with irritable bowel syndrome’s sometimes ambiguous diagnoses. If IBS has inconsistent or sporadic symptoms—or can go away unprompted—how can you reasonably prove that the effects of the syndrome will last more than a year?

The best way to prove your symptoms will be long-lasting and prove your disability is continuing medical evidence from a licensed physician or psychologist. The SSA considers all cases through those specific parameters.

What constitutes a complete package of “medical evidence”? When you consult with your doctor about severe IBS, you should have some form of imaging (X-rays or MRIs), labs, and notes describing exactly how you experience your symptoms.

It’s also important you have notes from your physician describing exactly how he or she thinks your IBS hinders you. How long can you sit? How much can you push your body? Do you need periodic breaks due to your symptoms?

On top of that, it may be possible that your IBS is also a cause of other illnesses—chiefly anxiety and depression. If you and your physician or psychologist think this is a possibility, you should notify the SSA about this as well, since the administration must consider every variable contributing to your disability.

Help from an Indiana Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you or someone you know is suffering from the debilitating effects of irritable bowel syndrome, even to the extent of being restricted from everyday activities, Hensley Legal Group may be able to help. Call us today or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim. Our Indiana disability lawyers are here to help.