Depending on the severity of your symptoms, diverticulitis can make it difficult to work. If you cannot work for a year or more due to your symptoms, you may be eligible for disability benefits. Depending on your work history, financial standing, and other factors, this could include monthly payments from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
At Berger and Green, our legal team understands what happens during every step of the disability claims process. We know what the disability examiner from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is looking for when examining your medical records. We will review your claim before you submit it, or we can help you fight a denial afterward. If you have questions about getting Social Security Disability for diverticulitis in Pittsburgh, we can help. Call our office today at 412-661-1400.
Meeting an Impairment Listing to Qualify for Benefits
Diverticulitis is not a recognized impairment in the SSA’s Blue Book. It is not usually severe enough or does not usually last long enough to qualify for disability benefits. However, this does not mean you cannot qualify based on a diverticulitis diagnosis. You will need to show your symptoms prevented you from working for a full year, or will likely last for a year. Even if your diverticulitis is not continuous, you may still be able to qualify for benefits.
Some diverticulitis sufferers also have another digestive disorder that could qualify for benefits. If you also have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), for example, you may be able to qualify for benefits by meeting the criteria listed in the Blue Book. To get benefits for IBD, you must either suffer two bowel obstructions requiring inpatient care within six months or experience two of the following within six months:
- Peritonitis with an abscess or fistula and uncontrollable pain;
- A painful abdominal mass;
- Low serum albumin;
- Tube feeding; or
- Weight loss of 10 percent or more.
If you do not meet the criteria for IBD, the Blue Book has other listings that may apply. Some people with diverticulitis suffer from malnutrition or gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, which have their own criteria. If you underwent bowel surgery and now have short bowel syndrome, you may also qualify.
Qualifying for Disability for Diverticulitis If You Do Not Meet the Criteria in the Blue Book
In some cases, you can get benefits without meeting the criteria in an impairment listing. This is possible based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC is an evaluation of your abilities and a statement of your capabilities. The SSA determines your RFC in one of three ways:
- The disability examiner gathers evidence from your medical records;
- Your physician completes an evaluation and submits a worksheet; or
- You undergo an examination by a third-party doctor.
During your RFC evaluation, the doctor will consider your ability to squat, bend, lift, and complete other work-related activities. This gives the SSA a good idea of the types of jobs you can work and for how long. If you cannot work, you may be eligible for benefits.
Technical Qualifications for Disability Benefits
In addition to proving you suffer from a qualifying medical condition, you must also meet technical qualifications to get the benefits you need. The local Social Security field office screens for these qualifications before forwarding your claim to Disability Determination Services. If you meet the technical qualifications for disability, you should qualify for benefits.
SSDI requires you to meet a work credits requirement. If you worked until you became too impaired to do so, you will likely meet these requirements. SSDI also requires that you earn less than the monthly substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit if you continue to work. This only includes income earned from working a job.
SSI does not have any work history requirements but does have income and asset limits. Benefits from this program may be available if you have a low income and few personal assets.
Appealing a Disability Denial in Pittsburgh
If you received a letter of denial in response to your initial claim, you are not alone. Many people who apply do not get approved. However, the disability appeals process offers a way to present your claim to an administrative law judge and ask them to overturn the denial. Call us as soon as possible after you receive your denial so we can request an appeals hearing on your behalf.
We know what it takes to get disability benefits, and we know what the Judge will look for in your claim. We can get to the bottom of why the SSA denied your initial application and help you build a stronger case for approval. You may need to see a different doctor, undergo more medical testing, or provide more evidence showing you cannot work.
At your appeals hearing, we will present our evidence to show why you qualify for disability. Frequently, we can convince the judge to overturn a denial at this point. If you receive approval, you will begin receiving monthly payments immediately and get back benefits within a few weeks.
If we cannot convince the judge to grant you benefits, we can continue with the appeals process until we secure the monthly payments you deserve.
Reach out to a Pittsburgh Attorney About Disability for Diverticulitis.
The team from Berger and Green can help you get the disability benefits you need to make ends meet. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for a free consultation.