Is Diverticulitis A Recognized Social Security Disability?

Some people wonder if diverticulitis is recognized as a Social Security disability. Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches form primarily in the large intestine but can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. The pouches themselves may not cause a problem. But if they become infected and/or inflamed, they can lead to a range of sudden-onset symptoms, including bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, a tender abdominal area, fever, and chills, and a loss of appetite.

Is Diverticulitis A Recognized Social Security Disability?
But as bad as diverticulitis can be, it’s not recognized as a “disability” by Social Security. Their reasoning for this is that it is not only treatable but doesn’t last more than 12 months. As a rule, a condition needs to prevent you from working for 12 months or more or end in death. Diverticulitis usually doesn’t fit the criteria exactly. However, it is possible to receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) for diverticulitis.


Because diverticulitis generally improves within 12 months, the condition alone will likely not qualify you for SSDI. But if you experience complications such as abscesses, fistulas, dramatic weight loss, and/or intestinal bleeding, your chances increase that you will become eligible. If your medical history indicates a history of long-term digestive illnesses, your chances are higher yet that you’ll qualify for disability.

Social Security’s listing contains conditions that automatically qualify for benefits but does not have a listing specifically for diverticulitis. However many people experience some of the same symptoms as the other digestive listings, and so may become eligible under those conditions.

Qualifying Conditions

If you have one or more of these conditions, you may qualify for SSDI as part of other digestive-related conditions:

• Severe weight loss despite medical treatment and medications, measured as a BMI of less than 17.50 over a six-month period.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an umbrella term that covers several chronic intestinal digestive illnesses, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s.
• Gastrointestinal hemorrhaging, or serious, recurrent bleeding anywhere in the digestive system that required a blood transfusion.
• Short bowel syndrome, in which a significant amount of small intestine is removed, is known as “bowel diversion surgery.”

Social Security will rate you based on a Residual Functional Capacity assessment, or RFC. That is, you’ll be rated based on what you are able to do despite the limitations of your current medical condition.

If you can do some type of work with your current condition, SSA will deny your claim. However, SSA determines that there isn’t a job that can accommodate your condition, or you can’t perform based on your condition and its limitations, you may be approved or benefits under a medical-vocational allowance. In this case, SSA will examine your age, skill set, work history, and other factors to determine if you are able to continue working elsewhere or truly unable to continue working.

Houston’s Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney

As you can see, the laws surrounding SSDI are complex and the process can be difficult to maneuver. With an experienced disability law firm to help, you can get your application completed right the first time and have a better chance of receiving the benefits you deserve.

We’ve helped over 4,000 Houstonians get SSDI and other disability benefits. The Herren Law Firm in Houston, TX can assist with your application, appeals and records gathering to prove your case, and win your claim. Contact us today at 713-682-8194 (or user our online contact form) to schedule your free consultation. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fees, and we only collect a fee if we win your case.

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