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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

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Facts about GERD (reflux disease) and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1) Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux disease, is characterized by abnormal reflux in the esophagus that causes consumed beverages and foods to travel up through the esophagus from the stomach, instead of staying in the stomach.

2) GERD is usually caused by the lower esophageal sphincter not closing properly, allowing food to travel up the esophagus, or by obesity, hypercalcemia, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, Scleroderma, Visceroptosis, diabetes, or a hiatal hernia. Other risk factors include asthma, dry mouth, connective tissue disorders, pregnancy, smoking and delayed stomach emptying.

3) Some symptoms of GERD are coughing, belching, heartburn, wheezing, vomiting, nausea, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of food, and sore throat. At times there can be blood in the vomit.

4) Obstructive sleep apnea and gallstones have been linked to GERD, but the definite link is still questionable.

5) Lifestyle modifications such as limiting coffee, alcohol, tobacco, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruits and chocolate, to weight reduction, sleeping on the left side, and avoiding smoking, may all help reduce the risk of GERD.

6) There are a number of medications that can treat GERD. While antacids can help for a very short period of time, many prescribed medications can also help, such as proton pump inhibitors and H-2 receptor blockers.

7) Sometimes surgery can help patients, though many times even surgery does not cure GERD and many patients may still need prescribed drugs after surgery to control symptoms. Surgery tactics usually include creating scar tissue in the esophagus, lowering the esophageal sphincter, and stitching the weakened sphincter to create a barrier between the esophagus and stomach acid.

8) GERD may most often be diagnosed by an endoscopy, an ambulatory acid (pH) probe test, an x-ray that shows your upper digestive tract, or a test that measures esophagus movement.

9) Some drugs, such as seasickness medications, beta blockers, sedatives, bronchodilators, tricyclic antidepressants, progestin, and calcium channel blockers, can increase risk of GERD or make symptoms worse.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews