If your IBS symptoms are so severe that it is has become impossible for you to work, you may be reassured to know that Social Security Disability might be an option for you. The following information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) will educate you as to the procedures involved in applying for these benefits.
Who Is Eligible?:
According to the SSA, you can apply for disability if you are over the age of 18 and live in the United States, or one of its territories and commonwealths. The SSA has certain requirements that must be met in terms of how long you have worked and how much you have paid in Social Security taxes in order to qualify for disability benefits. Your Social Security Statement will tell you if you have met the work requirement.
See "How Much Work Do You Need?" for more information.
Does IBS Count as a Disability?:
The SSA will consider your IBS disabling if it meets their conditions:
- "You cannot do work that you did before
- We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s)
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death"
Before You Apply:
The SSA provides an extremely helpful "Adult Disability Starter Kit", which contains the following forms:
- What You Should Know Before You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
- Adult Disability Interview Checklist
- Medical and Job Worksheet
These work sheets allow you to gather all your relevant information prior to initiating your disability application.
How to Apply:
There are three ways to initiate an application for Social Security disablity benefits:
The Application Process:
Once you have filed an application, an appointment will be scheduled with an SSA agent for an interview, either over the phone or at your local office. During this interview an application and an Adult Disability Report will be filled out.
Once your application is complete, it is sent to a state agency responsible for making disability determinations. This agency will contact your doctors and relevant treatment centers to obtain your records. You may be given additional forms to fill out or be sent for a medical examination.
The SSA states that it usually takes three to five months to obtain a decision.
The Appeals Process:
If your initial application is denied, you will be given information regarding an appeal. You must file such an appeal within 60 days, either online or at your local office. See "Disagreement with Social Security's decision" for more information on the appeals process and your right to obtain legal representation.
"Apply Online for Disability Benefits " Social Security Online Accessed January 27,2011.
"Disability Benefit Application" Accessed January 27,2011.
"Disagreement with Social Security's decision" Social Security Online Accessed January 27,2011.
"What We Mean By Disability" Social Security Online Accessed January 27,2011.