Facts about Diverticulitis and Filing for Disability
These selected pages answer some of the most basic, but also some of the most important, questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim for disability benefits.
Facts about the condition
1) Diverticulitis is a digestive disease that is most commonly found in the large intestine, but can also form on the small intestine, stomach and even the esophagus. The disease originates from diverticulosis, which is when pouches develop externally on the colon. These pouches are called diverticula, and diverticulitis occurs when the pouches become infected and/or inflamed.
2) Some people never know they have diverticula (pouches) on their colon until diverticulitis occurs.
3) It is thought that small crumbs of food or feces that get into the diverticula causing infection that leads to diverticulitis. There is also speculation that genetics may have something to do with the disease too, but that is still being investigated.
4) Fever, high white blood cell count, and left lower quadrant abdominal pain and tenderness are the most common symptoms of diverticulitis. Patients may also have constipation, diarrhea, or nausea. Rarely, the abdominal pain may be on the right side, and some patients report rectal bleeding.
5) An X-Ray Computed Tomography (CT Scan) is most commonly used to diagnose diverticulitis.
6) Fistula, abscess, bowel obstruction, bleeding, strictures, and peritonitis, can all occur due to diverticulitis complications, such as a diverticulum bursting, narrowing of the bowel, the diseased part of the colon adhering to the bladder, or other complications.
7) Cher, Desi Arnaz, Billy Graham, Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Fidel Castro, and Buckminster Fuller have all experienced diverticulitis.
8) Treatment for diverticulitis depends on the severity on the disease. Sometimes diet modifications can be enough, though sometimes medicines, hospitalization and surgery are needed.
Qualifying 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 and treatment notes that 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 also includes discharge summaries from hospital stays, reports of imaging studies (such as xrays, MRIs, and CT scans) and lab panels (i.e. bloodwork) as well as reports from physical therapy.
In many disability claims, it may also include the results of a report issued by an independent physician who examines you at the request of the Social Security Administration.
Qualifying for SSD or SSI benefits 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. In the case of adults, your work history information will allow a disability examiner (examiners make decisions at the initial claim and reconsideration appeal levels, but not at the hearing level where a judges decides the outcome of the case) to A) classify your past work, B) determine the physical and mental demands of your past work, C) decide if you can go back to a past job, and D) whether or not you have the ability to switch to some type of other work.
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?
There are several reasons but here are just two:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant's disability attorney or disability representative will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge.
Note: it is not enough for a doctor to simply state that their patient is disabled. To satisy Social Security's requirements, the physician must list in what ways and to what extent the individual is functionally limited. For this reason, many representatives and attorneys request that the physician fill out and sign a specialized medical source statement that captures the correct information. Solid Supporting statements from physicians easily make the difference between winning or losing a disability case at the hearing level.
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. This is because at the initial levels of the disability system, a disability examiner decides the case without meeting the claimant. The examiner may contact the claimant to gather information on activities of daily living and with regard to medical treatment or past jobs, but usually nothing more. At the hearing level, however, presenting an argument for approval based on medical evidence that has been obtained and submitted is exactly what happens.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability in North Carolina
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI
Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims
Social Security Disability SSI Questions
What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?
How to get disability for depression
Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Related Body System Impairments:
Alcoholism and Filing for Disability
Celiac Disease and Filing for Disability
Diverticulitis and Filing for Disability
Enteritis and Filing for Disability
Liver Disease and Filing for Disability
Wilson's Disease and Filing for Disability
Crohn's Disease and Filing for Disability
Cirrhosis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Hepatitis, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
If you apply for disability in Hawaii
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Hawaii