Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn’t usually severe enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but it is possible if your condition is so severe that it keeps you from being able to work. In 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded disability benefits to 127,272 workers who had similar digestive disorders.
To help you understand whether your IBS qualifies, we’ll break down how the SSA evaluates IBS symptoms and what you can do to apply for monthly benefits.
IBS can qualify as a disability if it’s severe enough to interfere with your ability to work. The SSA’s directory of disabilities (the Blue Book) doesn’t include IBS so you will have a harder time proving that you meet the strict medical requirements. However, it is still possible for your condition to qualify as a disability under SSA rules.
Irritable bowel syndrome often isn’t severe enough to qualify for disability benefits, but symptoms of IBS that you may experience if your condition qualifies include abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, and difficulty controlling your bowel movements. Ultimately, the SSA will consider all symptoms you experience that make it difficult to hold a job or handle daily tasks on your own.
The common types of IBS are defined based on the type of bowel movements you experience:
It will be difficult to get Social Security disability for IBS, but it is possible. You’ll have to provide thorough medical evidence that your IBS is severe and impacts your ability to work. Even with strong medical records, qualifying with IBS will be difficult and your best option may be to speak with a disability lawyer. They’ll be able to talk about the odds of approval based on your personal condition.
If you apply for disability with IBS, the SSA will need documented proof that your condition prevents you from being able to work. Since that proof will be hard to show, below are some questions you should consider before applying. If you answer yes to these questions, your IBS may qualify.
If you think your IBS could qualify and you have documentation to prove it, the next step is to apply for benefits. You can apply even if you’re unsure about your eligibility, but the application is lengthy and may not be worth it if you’re unlikely to win your benefits claim. Here’s what we recommend:
Apply now if:
Consider waiting and applying later if:
Probably don’t apply if:
To find out whether or not you qualify before you apply, take our free 2-minute disability quiz. If you do qualify, we’ll connect you with an experienced disability lawyer who can increase your odds of approval.
The amount of your disability payment depends on your personal work and income history. If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the average check is about $1,300 — with a maximum possible payment of about $3,600 in 2023. You generally meet the work requirements for SSDI if you’ve worked and paid taxes for at least five of the past 10 years.
For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is available to low-income people without much work history, the maximum monthly benefit is $914 in 2023. Your exact payment will be $914 minus the value of any other monthly income you have.
Qualifying for disability is difficult even for people with severe conditions — only 20% of people win their disability claim on their first application. If you think there’s a chance your condition will qualify, fill out our free Social Security disability quiz to get quick feedback on your eligibility. If you don’t think your condition will qualify but your IBS still interferes with your daily life, you may be able to receive certain other resources for people with disabilities.
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