A diagnosis of Crohn's disease forever changes your life, even to the point that you might be unable to work as you did in the past. Yet, living with Crohns's does not mean that you don't still have financial responsibilities and needs. If you've been faced with this diagnosis, Social Security benefits might be able to help, but there are limitations and requirements.
History of the Disease
How long you have been living with the disease will have some impact on how successful you are should you file a claim for benefits. As a result, it's unrealistic to assume that you can receive your diagnosis on Monday and file a claim for benefits on Friday.
There are a countless number of people who live with Crohn's disease and only occasionally have episodes in which the symptoms from their condition leave them temporarily unable to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine your history with the disease to look for a pattern of frequent attacks, over an extended period.
Keep in mind that there is no set number they are looking for — just any evidence that the condition is aggressive and frequently disturbs the person's ability to function as they normally would. It's also important to note that they might be looking for specific symptoms to highlight the severity of the disease.
Ability to Work
Social Security benefits are primarily designed to provide relief for individuals that are unable to earn an income. For this reason, to earn this benefit, you will need to show that the disease has prevented you from working.
People with Crohn's disease often deal with chronic bouts of diarrhea. So, working as a bus driver might not be possible for someone with an aggressive case of Crohn's. Consequently, someone who only has the skills to operate as a professional driver but is no longer able to work due to diarrhea might have a more favorable chance at benefits than someone who can still perform in their role.
You should also remember that the SSA might also examine your ability to work within another role to earn an income before they award benefits in your case. For example, they'll see if you can take on a job with different requirements or duties.
Speak with a Social Security attorney if you have a debilitating case of Crohn's disease. An attorney will examine your situation to help you determine what benefit options you have, as well as assist you with the process of obtaining these benefits.