What You Need to Know About Crohn's Disease and Long-Term Disability
Stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea are common to most people, but if they last for long periods of time and are unusually severe, you may have Crohn's disease. But are you eligible for long-term disability benefits? Below, we explain what you need to know about Crohn's disease and long-term disability benefits. To learn more, contact CJ Henry Law Firm today.
What Is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and can result in tissue damage and increase your risk of other medical conditions. The disease usually affects the lower part of the small intestine but it can appear anywhere in the gastrointestinal system.
In most cases, Crohn's disease is a lifetime disorder and therefore requires ongoing medical treatment. The symptoms of Crohn's disease include the following:
- stomach cramps,
- abdominal pain,
- bloody stools,
- loss of appetite,
- weight loss, and
The severity of the disease varies from person-to-person. Some individuals experience only occasional, mild symptoms, while others suffer from frequent severe bouts of the illness. Chronic Crohn's disease and its recurring symptoms can result in a higher risk of other health problems. Local complications from Crohn's include bowel obstruction, malnutrition, abscesses, and ulcers.
Possible systemic complications include arthritis, bone loss, vitamin D deficiency, skin problems, and liver and kidney problems. If you have a serious case of IBD that prevents you from working for long periods of time, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits.
What Causes Crohn's Disease?
The causes of Crohn's disease are unknown, but there is speculation that there is a genetic component to the disorder. People of Jewish descent and who have a blood relative with a form of IBD have a greater risk of developing Crohn's disease.
There is also a possibility that the immune system plays a part in the development of the disease. A person with Crohn's disease may have an immune system which processes bacteria, food, and other substances as foreign bodies. This can lead to inflammation of the intestines and then result in ulcers and tissue damage.
How Is Crohn's Disease Diagnosed?
There are a number of medical tests a doctor can use to diagnose Crohn's and other forms of IBD. The first step is to review your medical history and the history of family members. After a physical, the following tests may be ordered.
- An endoscopy or colonoscopy
- Blood tests
- Barium x-rays
- CT scans or an MRI
- A biopsy or sample of the affected tissue
Qualifying for Long-Term Disability Benefits
The symptoms of IBD can be verified by medical testing which increases your chances of approval. You should provide complete documentation with emphasis on the following:
- Episodes of chronic abdominal pain severe enough to require narcotic drugs for management and relief
- Records of hospitalization or surgery for small intestine or colon blockages
- Lab test results that indicate hemoglobin levels below 10.0 gm/dL
- A record of weight loss or extremely low body mass index, such as under 18.0 percent
- Proof of malnutrition from your doctor or from a registered dietician
Type of Disability Benefits You May Receive
Long-term disability benefits for Crohn's dsease are designed to help you replace lost wages and cover the cost of additional treatments as well as any necessary surgeries. Check your insurance policy for the exact amount of your benefits in addition to any limitations or restrictions.
Disability benefits can make a significant difference when you're struggling with the effects of Crohn's disease and subsequently unable to work. Sometimes, the symptoms of a chronic illness become more severe over time which will increase the cost of both treating and managing the disease.
Treatment of Crohn's Disease
Since there is no cure for Crohn's disease, the goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of symptoms and provide relief for sufferers. Treatment methods may involve medication, nutritional supplements, surgery, or a combination. The type of treatment used depends on the location of the disease as well as its severity.
Receiving Long-Term Disability Benefits for Crohn's Disease
If your disability claim is approved, you may be required to provide the insurance company with on-going reports and updates about the status of your condition. A claims specialist may check in with you to discuss your progress. The insurance company's goal is to get you back to work as soon as possible, however, if the severity of your Crohn's disease prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive benefits indefinitely.
If your long-term disability claim is denied, you have the option to appeal the decision. If you began to receive benefits and were terminated, you also have legal options to regain the benefits you need and deserve.
To Learn More About Crohn's Disease and Long-Term Disability
If you have questions about Crohn's disease and long-term disability, contact CJ Henry Law Firm today.