If the symptoms or complications of your pancreatitis prevent you from working and earning a living, you might be eligible for disability benefits that will help you make ends meet. These benefits could include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The disability lawyers from Berger and Green know how to get Social Security Disability for pancreatitis in Pittsburgh. We can review your application before you file your claim, and we will help you navigate the appeals process if the Social Security Administration (SSA) denied you for benefits. Call us today at 412-661-1400 for your complimentary consultation.
Meeting the Medical Criteria for Disability Benefits in Pittsburgh
The SSA publishes a listing of impairments and the criteria you must meet to get benefits based on that impairment. Known as the Blue Book, this publication includes many different conditions for getting benefits based on a medical impairment. However, there is not a specific listing for pancreatitis.
To get benefits based on your pancreatitis complications, you will need to look for a listing specific to the symptoms your condition causes.
If You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes because of your chronic pancreatitis, you might meet the criteria for benefits under Section 9.00 – Endocrine Disorders. This section outlines the qualifications and describes how the SSA will determine if you meet the criteria for benefits.
If You Are Experiencing Uncontrolled Weight Loss
Pancreatitis can cause malabsorption problems, and people often experience severe weight loss. If you suffer from uncontrolled weight loss, you could meet the criteria in Section 5.08 – Weight Loss Due to any Digestive Disorder. To qualify under this listing, you must have a body mass index of 17.50 or below. This result must have shown up twice in tests that were conducted at least two months apart but within a six-month period.
To prove you meet the qualifications in the Blue Book, or to qualify based on your inability to work, the Office of Disability Determination Services will want to see documentation of your condition in your medical records. You might need to provide:
- Pancreatic function tests; or
- Medical imaging, including CT scans and ultrasounds; or
- Glucose tolerance tests; or
- Other clinical tests; or
- Notes from your doctor; or
- Treatment notes and outcomes.
We recommend discussing your claim with your doctor before you file it. Getting your doctor to help with your disability case is the best way to ensure you have the medical evidence you need in your file.
Getting Disability Benefits When You Do Not Meet an Impairment Listing
If you do not meet a Blue Book listing, you might still be able to get benefits based on your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC is an evaluation of your abilities. It shows whether or not your impairments prevent you from working. Your RFC considers:
- How long you can work; and
- How often you can work; and
- The type of work you can do.
If the SSA determines you cannot work your current job or any other job you might qualify for, you will likely get approved for benefits.
There are three ways the SSA can evaluate you for your RFC:
- A doctor from the Office of Disability Determination Services can evaluate your medical records and application; or
- Your doctor can complete an evaluation form based on their knowledge of your case; or
- The SSA can ask you to attend a consultative exam with another doctor at their expense.
Meeting the Technical Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Before the claims representative at your local Social Security field office ever forwards your application to the Office of Disability Determination Services, they will check to ensure you meet the technical qualifications of the SSDI or SSI program.
Each program has its own technical qualifications. Not meeting these criteria will result in a technical denial. Your application will not move forward, and you will have to appeal or reapply to get benefits.
Some of the most common reasons we see for technical denials include:
- Blanks left on the application; or
- Incorrect answers on the application; or
- Answers entered in the wrong area; or
- An earned income above the substantial gainful activity limit; or
- Too few work credits to meet the requirements for SSDI; or
- Income or assets that do not meet the requirements for SSI.
Appealing a Disability Denial
The SSA denies many of the claims it receives. Most people who get benefits do so by appealing the decision on their case. This creates a backlog of appeals. While you only have 60 days to request an appeals hearing, it could take a year or more before the date of your hearing arrives and you get a decision for disability.
We can help you navigate every step of the appeals process, including:
- Requesting your appeals hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge; and
- Investigating your denial; and
- Gathering additional evidence to prove you qualify, if possible; and
- Representing you to the Administrative Law Judge; and
- Presenting a case that shows why you deserve benefits.
If we can present a winning case to the Administrative Law Judge, they may overturn your denial and approve you for benefits. You might qualify for back pay for the time you waited for approval, and retroactive benefits for the time you could not work before you applied for SSDI.
Talk to an Attorney About Getting Disability for Pancreatitis in Pittsburgh, PA
The disability team from Berger and Green can evaluate your case for free and help you understand why the SSA denied your claim. We will walk with you through the appeals process and fight for the benefits you need.
Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 for your complimentary consultation.