If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and are unable to work, it will help to know how the SSA will evaluate your claim for disability benefits.

Crohn’s disease can be very frustrating and painful. Flares may come unexpectedly and turn your world into turmoil. Crohn’s can be confused with other illnesses (i.e. ulcerative colitis) due to common symptoms.

“Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine.” Found here.

Usually a doctor can diagnose you with Crohn’s based on x-rays, CT scans, biopsies or blood work. Look here for more information. People who have Crohn’s are given medications to reduce inflammation in their digestive tract. Some of the medications can cause serious side effects (e.g. prednisone) that may alone be disabling.

The Social Security Administration evaluates Crohn’s disease under Listing 5.06, Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  This listing requires obstructions relatively close in time OR two of the following: anemia, decreased serum albumin, abdominal masses, perineal disease, involuntary weight loss or the need for daily supplemental enteral nutrition. In addition to Listing 5.06, Listing 5.08 Weight Loss due to any digestive disorder can be used.

I advise clients not to worry about meeting this or any other listing. The ultimate question is if your illness prevents you from working. If you have problems staying out the restroom, work is not an option for you regardless if you meet the above listing or not.

If your Crohn’s symptoms or the side effects of your medication have progressed to the point that you are unable to work, you should file a claim for Social Security Disability as soon as possible. Delay may cause you to lose benefits.