A stomach ulcer, also known as a peptic ulcer, is a sore which develops in the lining or small intestines. Stomach ulcers affect an estimated four million people. In fact, the American Gastroenterological Association estimates up to one in ten people may develop a stomach ulcer in their lifetime. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, If I have a stomach ulcer and I have received treatment, but it persists, can I receive Social Security Disability Insurance?
Stomach ulcers are caused by a variety of factors. Some claimants may develop stomach ulcers from a condition known as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, which is a condition in which too much stomach acid is produced. Other claimants may have a bacterial infection or suffer severe symptoms from an over use of certain drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. There are also certain factors and behaviors which may increase a claimants risk of developing a stomach ulcer: smoking, being over the age of 50, drinking too much alcohol, genetics, and hypercalcemia.
Getting SSDI benefits for a stomach ulcer
Although a stomach ulcer can produce some very severe symptoms including weight loss, dull pain, or burning in the stomach, vomiting, bloating, burping, and heartburn, most claimants with a stomach ulcer will not qualify for SSDI benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is only offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which is expected to last for 12 continuous months and which does not allow the claimant to perform substantial gainful activity.
While stomach ulcers may severely limit your ability to work, they generally do not qualify you for SSDI benefits. Stomach ulcers can, however, be the symptom of other more serious conditions such as Colitis, Vasculitis, or Lupus. Several of these underlying conditions may be serious enough to qualify for SSDI.
Am I disabled with a stomach ulcer?
The Social Security Administration has several methods they use to determine whether a claimant is disabled. After they determine if you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI benefits they will evaluate the severity of your health condition. The first method they use is to determine if your condition is listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments or Blue Book.
Although stomach ulcers are not specifically listed, several severe conditions which may cause ulcers are listed. For instance, under listing 5.0 Digestive System, Section 5.02, there is a listing for gastrointestinal bleeding. Under this listing if your stomach ulcers bleed so severely that you require repeated blood transfusions at least three times within a consecutive 6-month period and you required more than two units of blood for each transfusion you may qualify for SSDI benefits.
Under section 5.06 Inflammatory Bowel disease you may also qualify for SSDI if you suffer from stomach ulcers due to Colitis, which is so severe you had to be hospitalized for small intestine obstruction or surgery at least twice within a consecutive 6-month period, though hospital treatments must also be at least 60-days apart. Other claimants with Colitis may qualify for benefits if they have severe, involuntary weight loss, they need an IV or feeding tube, they have painful abdominal masses, anemia, and low serum albumin blood results.
Stomach ulcers generally will not be severe enough to qualify a claimant for SSDI benefits unless they are the result of a more severe health condition. Talk to a disability lawyer if you have questions about your case.