Gastroparesis and Social Security Disability
Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a disorder that prevents the body from moving food from the stomach to the small intestine. The effects of gastroparesis can be severe and unpredictable on a day-to-day basis. Because of this, an individual who has gastroparesis may find that their symptoms make it impossible for them to continue working.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to individuals who have severe health conditions.
Disability Benefit Programs
The Social Security Administration governs two different types of federal disability benefits—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Each program is designed to help different groups of people facing different types of circumstances. For this reason, each program has its own set of technical eligibility requirements.
SSDI is designed to offer benefits to disabled workers and their qualified family members. To qualify, applicants must be under age 65, must meet the SSA’s definition of disability, and must have paid a certain amount of Social Security taxes throughout their career. This program is typically the best fit for adults with extensive employment history.
The SSA’s second benefit program—SSI—is designed to offer benefits to disabled individuals who earn very little income. To qualify, applicants must meet strict financial limits. Because SSI has no work, tax, or age requirements, it is often the best fit for children or adults who have limited work history.
To learn more about SSDI and SSI eligibility, visit the following page:
The Social Security Administration maintains a manual of disabling conditions called Disability Evaluation Under Social Security— more commonly referred to as the Blue Book. The Blue Book—published online—contains listings for all potentially disabling conditions. Applicants must meet the specific requirements listed under their conditions to qualify for benefits.
Unfortunately, there is no Blue Book listing for gastroparesis. Although this can make it slightly more difficult to qualify for benefits, it does not make it impossible.
First, you should consult the Blue Book to see if you meet the requirements of a related condition or listing. These may include the following:
• Section 5.06 – Inflammatory Bowel Disease
• Section 5.08 – Weight Loss due to any Digestive Disorder
• Section 9.00 – Endocrine Disorders
• Section 11.00 – Neurological Disorders
• Section 14.00 – Immune Disorders
If you can prove, using medical documentation, that your gastroparesis matches the symptoms and severity of a separate condition, you may qualify for disability benefits.
View all Blue Book listings, here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm.
It is important to note that applicants should inform the SSA of any and all health conditions that they have. This means that if your gastroparesis is caused by an overlying condition or you have another serious condition in addition to gastroparesis, you should inform the SSA. This is due to the fact that the SSA will evaluate you based on the combined effects of all conditions that you may have. For example, someone with gastroparesis may have their application denied. However, if the same person has diabetes and gastroparesis, their claim may stand a better chance of approval.