Disability Benefits for Crohn’s Disease

About Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the gastrointestinal tract and was first described by a doctor named Burrill B. Crohn in 1932. The disease causes inflammation of the lining of an individual’s digestive tract that can result in abdominal pain along with several other symptoms.

The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known at the moment. Doctors speculate that genetics influence an individual’s susceptibility to the disease but this is not proven. Currently there is no cure to Crohn’s disease but the symptoms can be alleviated for some people through treatment and therapy. For others, the symptoms of the disease may lead to dangerous complications despite treatment and therapy.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

  • Diarrhea – One of the common problems for people with Crohn’s disease. Some individuals report having diarrhea up to 20 times a day.
  • Fatigue – The condition can cause people to feel tired and drained.
  • Fever – Many individuals experience a fever due to the inflammation within their digestive tract. This can lead to nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain – Pain and cramping within the stomach and bowels. The pain can be very severe or slightly discomforting depending on the person and severity of the condition.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss – The condition can affect one’s appetite as well as the ability to digest food. This typically results in weight loss.
  • Rectal bleeding – Blood that passes from the anus caused by bleeding of the lower colon or rectum.
  • Constipation – Difficulty with emptying the bowels.
  • Mouth Ulcers – Sores within the mouth.

Crohn’s disease is considered a chronic disease meaning the condition’s symptoms are long-term and come and go in waves. There will be periods where the symptoms flare up and spike in severity as well as periods of remission where the individual experiences little to no symptoms. Crohn’s disease may cause other conditions to arise such as anemia, fistula, osteoporosis and liver disease.

Qualifying with Crohn’s Disease

The SSA developed a manual or guide known as the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (AKA the Blue Book) that lists the requirements necessary for certain conditions to qualify for disability benefits. Part 5.06 Inflammatory of the Blue Book specifies what is needed for an individual with Crohn’s disease to qualify.

5.06 Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

The following must be documented by biopsy, endoscopy, medically acceptable imaging, or operative findings.

Requirement A

Obstruction of stenotic areas in the small intestine or colon with proximal dilatation requiring hospitalization for intestinal decompression or for surgery, and occurring on at least two occasions at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6 month period.


Requirement B

An applicant must have two of the following despite continuing treatment as prescribed and occurring within the same consecutive 6-month period:

1.) Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10.0 g/dL present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart

2.) Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less present at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart

3.) Tender abdominal mass palpable on physical examination with abdominal pain or cramping that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, present on at least two evaluation at least 60 days apart

4.) Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula with pain that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart

5.) Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline as computed in pounds, kilograms, or BMI present on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart

6.) Need for supplemental daily enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy or daily parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter

5.08 Weight loss due to any digestive disorder

Applicant must have a BMI of less than 17.50 calculated on at least two evaluations at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period.


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