Is Diverticulitis a Disability? All about Diverticulitis disability benefits
If you are suffering from severe diverticulitis, you may be entitled to Social
Security Disability benefits. Diverticulitis is not included among the Social
Security Administration’s (SSA) listing of impairments, known as the “Blue
Book.” The Blue Book is a listing of impairments that have been pre-
determined through federal rulemaking to be severe enough to prevent gainful
activity, are permanent or expected to result in death, or last continuously for
a stated duration (usually a minimum expectation of at least 12 months).
The Blue Book criteria, however, are only one step of the SSA disability evaluation
process. Other conditions that impact your ability to work, but are not listed in
the Blue Book, may be evaluated under the criteria of a similar listed condition.
While a diagnosis of diverticulitis may not directly entitle you to benefits, it is
still possible to establish disability based on a condition that presents similar
symptoms. The knowledgeable attorneys at Berke Law P.C. will be able to
For example, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an impairment listed in the
Blue Book that shares many similarities with diverticulitis. You may be able to
establish entitlement to diverticulitis disability benefits if you meet the
eligibility criteria for IBD. Your record must demonstrate that you are
experiencing similar symptoms as IBD, that those symptoms negatively impact
your ability to work, and that they will last for the amount of time required by
Here is a short guide to help determine whether you might be eligible and, if
so, how to obtain Social Security disability benefits for diverticulitis.
What is Diverticulitis?
Diverticulitis is an infection or inflammation of intestinal pouches, known as
diverticula. It can be minor, but can also be quite severe, causing dangerous
infection or a perforated bowel, which can be life threatening.
Symptoms of diverticulitis include persistent pain and cramping of the
abdomen lasting for several days, as well as fever, nausea, and constipation. In
extreme cases, symptoms may lead to changes in the bowel habits of a person.
You may have a disability for Diverticulitis when your symptoms are severe
enough to prevent you from working over a continuous period of time.
Several risk factors contribute to the condition. These include age, obesity,
smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet, and the use of certain medications, such
as steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and opiates.
Types of Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis is generally classified into two types:
- Simple/Uncomplicated Diverticulitis – This type is usually treatable with
medications and other medical interventions. Surgery is typically not
required. About 75% of diverticulitis cases are uncomplicated.
- Complicated – In this case, surgery may be needed. Surgery is necessary
when the condition and symptoms are severe and cannot be treated
with medications and dietary changes. This accounts for about 25% of
Treatment Options Available for Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis can impact people differently, which can, in turn, impact
treatment differently. In severe or complicated cases, your doctor may
recommend antibiotics or suggest you undergo surgery at the outset to avoid
any further complications and discomfort. Alternatively, multiple episodes of
recurrent but otherwise uncomplicated diverticulitis may necessitate surgery
or more intense medical intervention. Or, severe complications from
diverticulitis, such as a bowel abscess, may be sufficient to warrant surgery.
In uncomplicated cases, hospitalization may not be needed because symptoms
can be treated at home. Your doctor may recommend some antibiotics or
suggest you make some diet changes until the symptoms improve. For
example, a doctor might place you on a liquid diet for a few days until your
Can you get disability for Diverticulitis?
As mentioned, the SSA hasn’t included diverticulitis in its Blue Book listing of
impairments. You may, however, still establish entitlement to disability
benefits by matching similar symptoms and criteria listed under IBD. To put it
succinctly, you must be able to demonstrate that your diverticulitis meets the
IBD criteria to be eligible for disability benefits.
THe SSA disability process is multi-layered. Thus, even if your symptoms or
condition do not meet the IBD disability criteria, there are additional ways to
demonstrate that your condition is disabling, thereby entitling you to benefits,
Proving these alternative ways can become complicated. For example, you
must show that your condition prevents you from continuing your current
employment, and that symptoms lead to such severe physical limitations that
you are unlikely to be able to transition to another type of vocation.
The SSA will assess what they refer to as your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). The
RFC is a determination of whether you can perform any other kind of work,
taking into consideration your education, age, and prior work experience.
The important thing to know is that if you are experiencing such severe,
prolonged symptoms that you are no longer able to work, you may be eligible
for the Social Security Disability for Diverticulitis.
How to get disability benefits for Diverticulitis?
You may be entitled to disability benefits for diverticulitis if you meet the
eligibility criteria. You can initiate the process by filing an application with the
SSA. Many people will be denied upon their first attempt at applying for these
benefits for reasons as simple as an incomplete application, lack of evidence,
or the wrong type of evidence.
It is important to ensure you have access to all relevant medical documentation and records before applying for Social Security disability for diverticulitis. A Social Security disability lawyer who understands the intricacies of the disability claims process is available to assist you with every aspect of your disability claim, from the initial application to appealing an adverse decision.
The dedicated team of professional attorneys at Berke Law, P.A. have been
advising clients on claims for Social Security disability benefits for decades.
We highly advise prospective applicants to consult with our experienced
disability attorneys to discuss their disability-related concerns. If you are
experiencing severe symptoms from diverticulitis that prevent you from
working, contact our office today.