Chronic diseases can be life-altering, and people with Crohn’s disease might need some extra help if they’re having difficulties going to work or even doing basic tasks around the house. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can make life difficult, and for people who have the disease, it might be worthwhile to look into getting Social Security disability benefits. While people can apply for disability benefits on their own, seeking legal counsel from an experienced attorney can greatly increase the chances that they will get the benefits that they need and deserve. Here are some more things that people who think that they might have Crohn’s disease and are wondering if they’ll qualify for benefits should know.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects about three million Americans every year. It can affect various places along the bowel system, but in other people, only a small segment of the small intestine is affected. While it’s very possible for someone with Crohn’s disease to go into remission, it’s also a disease that can have widespread affects on the digestive system.
There are several factors that affect who gets Crohn’s disease and who doesn’t. One of the most obvious factors is age, meaning that people usually get it before the age of 31. The older a person is, the less likely that they’ll develop it.
Another common factor is the ethnicity of the person experiencing it, with white people being in the highest risk group and black people in North America and the UK having an increasingly higher risk over the last several years. Smoking cigarettes, where you live, family history, and the use of NSAIDs, can also factor into whether or not someone gets Crohn’s disease and the severity of the disease. For instance, living in an urban area is correlated to higher incidents of Crohn’s disease. Some people speculate that the higher levels are related to diets that are higher in fatty and highly refined foods that might be more accessible in urban areas.
There are certain complications that are also common to people with Crohn’s disease. For instance, people with Crohn’s disease are more likely to develop colon cancer, so many people have to start their screenings sooner and have them more frequently than other people who don’t have colon cancer.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
The activity level of the disease can vary throughout the time that a person has Crohn’s disease depending somewhat on how well a person takes care of themselves. But there are some symptoms that are common when a person has a period of activity with Crohn’s disease.
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Basically, Crohn’s disease causes the intestines to be too active, causing food to move through the system too quickly, which results in diarrhea. Rectal bleeding and muscle cramps are also common for people with Crohn’s disease because the tissues are inflamed. This inflammation causes anal fissures, otherwise known as small tears, and anal fistulas, which are tunnels between the skin and the anus. These fissures and fistulas are where people with Crohn’s disease bleed from.
Mouth sores, fever, and fatigue are other common symptoms of Crohn’s disease. People can sometimes get fatigued because the disease can lead to anemia, which can often cause people to feel tired. People often get fevers because of the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. Finally, some people with the disease get sores in their mouths because of the inflammation, because they have vitamin deficiencies, and because of the medications that they’re taking for the disease.
There are some secondary symptoms that some people with Crohn’s disease might experience. For instance, the inflammation might also show up in the eyes, joints, skin, bile ducts, and liver. Also, some children might have delayed sexual development and overall growth.
Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
For people who are experiencing an active bout with the disease, there are a couple of treatments that they can use to lessen the symptoms or even help along a remission.
Prednisone and Budesonide are two corticosteroids that are used to treat the inflammation with Crohn’s disease although not everyone with Crohn’s disease responds to them. Generally speaking, they can be taken for a few months at a time to induce a remission, but they’re not a good option for the long term. They can also be used in conjunction with an immune suppressor.
There are many types of immune suppressors, which are prescribed to lessen inflammation caused by the body’s own immune system. Some of the most common immune suppressors that a prescribed for Crohn’s disease include azathioprine, infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, methotrexate, natalizumab, vedolizumab, and ustekinumab.
Another common type of treatment is to prescribe antibiotics. Anal fissures and fistulas can become infected, so antibiotics are used to help heal them. There is also some evidence that leads some people to believe that antibiotics can help lower the amount of bad bacteria in the digestive system.
A number of other types of drugs can be used to treat some of the side effects of Crohn’s disease. For instance, anti-diarrheals and pain relievers are often used, and iron supplements can replace the iron that’s lost when a person is bleeding from anal fissures. Vitamin B-12 shots and calcium and vitamin D supplements are also used to replace some of the vitamins that are lost because of Crohn’s disease.
Disability Benefits for Crohn’s Disease
Many people seek benefits for Crohn’s disease when it begins to interfere with their everyday lives and their abilities to work. There are a couple of ways that you can get benefits for Crohn’s disease, but you need to have thorough documentation of your disease.
Crohn’s disease is specifically listed in the Blue Book for IBD. First, though, a person applying for disability benefits for Crohn’s disease must show that their symptoms are debilitating enough to be unable to work and that they’ve undergone treatments to try to send the disease into remission.
In order to meet the criteria for IBD, which is what Crohn’s disease falls under, the person applying must provide evidence that they have advanced symptoms that have caused bowel tissue regeneration, scarring in the bowels that have caused obstructions, or other severe complications. Otherwise, people with Crohn’s disease can look at the Blue Book to see how they can qualify for benefits if they have severe weight loss, complications with the liver or kidneys, or other types of complications associated with Crohn’s disease.
When people with Crohn’s disease still don’t meet the qualifications to receive benefits, the other option is to try to qualify for benefits based on a residual functional capacity test. In this type of test, a doctor tells what a person can and can’t do. The Social Security Administration then looks at what’s types of jobs the person can and can’t do. If there aren’t any jobs that the person can do, they then qualify for benefits.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Still’s Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.