Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract; that is, anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Crohn's causes severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Some people with Crohn's also experience rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, arthritis, and skin problems. What causes Crohn's is not exactly known, rather, there are many theories. There is no definitive cure for Crohn's, however, treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms and their effects. For more than 20 years, Karen L. Levian, has assisted people with Crohn's disease to obtain Social Security disability benefits.

Under Social Security Administration (SSA) regulation "disability" is defined as a disease or condition which has lasted, or is expected to last at least twelve months, or result in death, and which makes you unable to do your past work, and any other job in the national economy. It is very important when making a claim for Social Security disability benefits to have documentation, that is, medical records, to prove the existence of your condition. It is also very important to obtain regular treatment for your condition. If you tell the SSA you are unable to work due to a severe medical condition, you are expected by the SSA to be receiving treatment for that condition. 

Social Security disability benefits are difficult to obtain. Expecting an award of benefits based only on the fact you have a diagnosis is not realistic. In order to obtain an award of Social Security disability benefits, your condition must be severe enough that it causes significant limitations in your ability to maintain a job, not just your current job, but any simple one to two step sedentary job in the national economy. 

To prove your significant limitations, you must present medical evidence to the SSA. Your word alone is not considered proof of your medical condition. The SSA must review your medical evidence in order to make a decision regarding the impact of your condition on your ability to maintain employment. Medical evidence means your medical records which should include your medical provider's observations, as well as the results of laboratory and other tests. Also important is any imaging and surgery you have had in relation to your condition. Depending on the severity of the condition, your ability to maintain a full time job may differ from that of another person with Crohn's. 

It is very important for you to discuss with your medical provider how your condition affects you on a daily basis. Consider your day from the moment you wake until the time you go to sleep. Talk to your provider about the affects Crohn's has on you, e.g., how many times per day do you have to go to the bathroom? How long do you generally need to stay in the bathroom each time? Do you have fecal incontinence? If so, how often? Do you have pain? If so, where? How often? What triggers your pain? What relieves your pain? Have you lost weight? If yes, how much? Over what period of time? If you are prescribed medication for Crohn's do you have side affects from the medication? If yes, what (described symptoms, including when they occur, how often, and how long the symptoms last)?  

If you have Crohn's disease, you can increase your chance of winning your claim for Social Security disability benefits by having an attorney who knows Social Security disability law, and who understands the medical side of your claim. Your medical situation must be presented to the SSA in a legal framework. An nurse-attorney is uniquely qualified to do this. A nurse-attorney is trained to translate your medical records into the legal language and framework necessary to present to an SSA judge, and to help you maximize your chances of obtaining Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration has medical experts review your medical records and provide opinions to the SSA. More often than not, unless you are terminally ill, your claim will not be awarded benefits without a hearing. By the time you are scheduled for a hearing, your nurse-attorney will ensure the SSA has all relevant medical records, and will thoroughly prepare you for the hearing. Your nurse-attorney will present your case to the SSA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and you will have the opportunity to explain to the ALJ how your condition affects your ability to do your daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, preparing meals, cleaning your living space, performing tasks required of your past job(s), and maintaining employment. Your diagnosis of Crohn's, alone, will not persuade the SSA to award you SSDI and/or SSI. It is the affect the Crohn's has on your ability to function, perform your daily activities, and to show up and work a full day, month after month, that the SSA and ALJ will consider when evaluating your claim and deciding whether or not to award you Social Security disability benefits.

You may contact Levian Legal (410) 433-4040 to discuss your claim for Social Security disability benefits. There is no charge for discussing your claim. Furthermore, if nurse-attorney, Karen L. Levian, represents you in your claim for Social Security disability benefits, you pay no attorney fee unless you are awarded "past due" (retroactive) benefits.