Getting approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) in Atlanta is never simple. But with Crohn’s Disease it can be even more complex. Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract. This leads to intense pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding and in many cases dramatic weight loss—as well as other symptoms. Crohn’s Disease is a chronic, ongoing condition that can make it difficult or impossible to work. As such, it’s also considered a valid disability and individuals with Crohn’s disease can get SSDI benefits. But the application process is difficult and you may want an Atlanta SSDI lawyer to help you.
At John Foy & Associates, we have experience helping individuals with Crohn’s Disease get approved for Social Security Disability benefits. We have dedicated our practice to helping those who are injured or face painful chronic conditions like Crohn’s. With 20 years’ experience, we have worked our way up from a small local law firm to one of the most respected law offices in the state. We offer all SSDI applicants a free in-depth consultation. This consultation is your chance to get a professional legal opinion with no pressure and no obligation. Call John Foy & Associates at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
Can Crohn’s Disease be approved for SSDI in Atlanta?
Yes. The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a list of impairments that qualify for benefits. Crohn’s Disease is included on that listing under inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, many patients with Crohn’s Disease will find that it makes it impossible for them to hold down steady employment and perform work, which is the main prerequisite for any SSDI application. Crohn’s Disease patients are routinely approved for their disability benefits.
But the SSA does not approve every Crohn’s Disease application. Although the condition can be debilitating, there are also patients with less severe symptoms who continue to work. The SSA needs proof that your particular case of Crohn’s Disease prevents you from working and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Only then will your application be approved.
What proof do I need to get my Crohn’s Disease SSDI claim approved?
The amount of paperwork that the SSA requires for a disability claim is staggering. Many patients with valid disabilities are turned away purely because they did not assemble the right documents.
The first thing the SSA needs is documentation that you were diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. This is easy for us to request from your physician. We can also help you see a doctor who understands gastrointestinal diseases and can help you get a formal diagnosis if you don’t have one.
The second step is to demonstrate to the SSA that your particular case is severe enough to prevent you from working. There are two ways to do this: recurring intestinal obstruction or other severe symptoms.
If you have been hospitalized for obstruction twice in a six month period, you qualify for SSDI. With Crohn’s disease this can include obstruction of any inflamed area, typically in the small intestine or the colon. The two hospitalizations must be at least 60 days apart, but still within 6 months of each other. (The 60 day rule is because the SSA wants to be sure these are two separate events and not two hospitalizations for the same blockage.)
Even if you have not suffered recurring intestinal obstruction, you can still qualify if you have other severe symptoms. If you have two seen a physician for two or more of the symptoms below, on two separate visits, you qualify. Once again the two visits must be at least 60 days apart but still within a 6-month period:
- Anemia (with hemoglobin levels of less than 10 g/dL)
- Serum albumin below 3 g/dL
- Unintentional weight loss of 10% or more of your body weight
- Abdominal pain, if it involves cramping or a physical mass and does not respond to pain medication
- A draining abscess (or fistula) related to an infection in the perineum, plus pain that does not respond to pain medication
- Cannot absorb nutrition from food without medical help
Don’t be alarmed if you’re not sure you meet the requirements. Many SSDI applications are rejected simply because things weren’t documented properly. Not all doctors understand Crohn’s Disease, and very few understand the SSDI process and the kind of documentation you need. Even if you have been turned down for SSDI before, we may be able to help get you approved.
What are the most common reasons Crohn’s Disease SSDI claims are turned down in Atlanta?
There are several mistakes that doctors and patients make that can lead to a rejected SSDI application. The most common we see are:
- Crohn’s Disease misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is very common as the symptoms are similar. However, Crohn’s Disease is a chronic, severe condition and is much more likely to be approved for disability benefits. Getting your condition properly diagnosed is key to having your benefits approved.
- Diagnosed too recently. SSDI can only be approved for conditions that have lasted at least 12 months or are expected to continue lasting 12 months or more. Many patients have been suffering this long but were only diagnosed recently. If your diagnosis is recent, you can still be approved but you need a doctor’s opinion suggesting that it will be an ongoing condition.
- Inconsistent symptoms. Crohn’s Disease symptoms go from severe to moderate and back to severe again. In many cases patients will go through cycles of feeling better and then getting worse. On paper, this can look like you have only occasional bouts of severe symptoms, when in actuality you cannot do steady work at all. Getting your symptoms properly documented will allow you to get approved.
How can an Atlanta SSDI lawyer help me get approved for benefits for Crohn’s Disease?
There are several ways we can help. If you’ve already applied in the past, the first thing we will do is review your application paperwork and the rejection notice from the SSA. In many cases we can immediately spot what’s causing your application to get rejected—it may take only an hour or two to fix it.
In other cases we will want to establish better documentation for your condition. We are privileged to work closely with several Atlanta area doctors who understand GI illnesses, Crohn’s Disease and the entire SSDI process. These doctors will make sure everything is documented exactly the way it needs to be for your application.
With the SSA there is no substitute for experience. A good lawyer can make the process easy.
Talk to an Atlanta Social Security Disability Lawyer for Free
We take pride in helping people with disabilities get the benefits they need. Let us give you a free consultation. We can help you determine how likely you are to get approved and what documentation you need to do it. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.