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Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. In severe cases, it can result in painful digestive system problems that can significantly affect the sufferer’s quality of life. If it also affects the sufferer’s ability to work, he or she may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits, as our Baltimore disability attorney explains. 

What Causes Crohn’s Disease? 

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is not yet known. While diet and stress can aggravate it, they are not generally believed to be its cause. Many healthcare professionals believe that it may be caused by an abnormal immune system response that, in the process of attacking a virus or bacterium, also attacks the digestive tract. There is also evidence that it is hereditary, as it is more common in individuals who have family members with the condition. Certain risk factors include age (under 30), ethnicity (whites, especially Eastern Europeans of Ashkenazi Jewish descent), family history, and cigarette smoking.

What Are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease? 

Most symptoms of Crohn’s disease are gastrointestinal, such as: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in the stool
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Anal fissures 
  • Anal fistula  

Non-gastro-intestinal symptoms can include fever, fatigue, iron deficiency, kidney stones, blood clots, and inflammation of the skin, eyes, and joints. 

Is Crohn’s Disease Covered Under Social Security Disability? 

According to the SSA’s Blue Book, a claimant suffering Crohn’s disease is eligible for Social Security disability benefits if he or she presents the following symptoms: 

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

OR

  1. Two of the following occurring within a consecutive six-month period: 
  • Anemia with hemoglobin of less than 10.0 g/dL at least 60 days apart
  • Serum albumin of 3.0 g/dL or less at least 60 days apart
  • Tender abdominal mass palpable on physical examination with abdominal pain or cramping that is not entirely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, at least 60 days apart
  • Perineal disease with a draining abscess or fistula, with pain that is not completely controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, at least 60 days apart
  • Involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent from baseline, at least 60 days apart
  • Need for supplemental daily enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy or daily parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter

Such symptoms may be documented by endoscopy, biopsy, appropriate medically acceptable imaging, or operative findings. 

As with other eligible conditions, the claimant must also show that Crohn’s disease has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, that he or she has the appropriate number of work credits, and that he or she is unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity

Contact a Baltimore Disability Attorney for More Information 

If you suffer from Crohn’s Disease, you may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits. To discuss your case, please contact Baltimore disability attorney Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.