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Pancreatitis and Social Security Disability

Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, occurs in two different ways. Acute pancreatitis happens suddenly, without warning. Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, is recurring and characterized by severe abdominal pain.

Pancreatitis Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of pancreatitis can vary depending on the type of pancreatitis you have and the severity of the condition. The symptoms of acute pancreatitis usually include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Pain radiating from the abdomen to the back
  • Pain in the abdomen that worsens after eating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • An abdomen that is tender to touch

For those who suffer from chronic pancreatitis, symptoms usually involve:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Oily stools with a foul odor

Pancreatitis and Qualifying Criteria

To determine an applicant’s eligibility, the Social Security Administration (SSA) consults the Blue Book, or guide of qualifying disabling conditions and symptoms. Unfortunately, pancreatitis is not specifically listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. However, in severe cases of pancreatitis, there may be accompanying conditions such as a digestive system disorder or an endocrine disorder. Both of which are listed in the following sections of the Blue Book:

In order to qualify based on a secondary condition that is listed in the Blue Book, you must meet the criteria that has been set forth by the SSA. For example, in the case of Pancreatic Insufficiency listed in Section 5.0 of the Blue Book, you must show proof of unexplained weight loss and malabsorption of nutrition.

If you are unable to obtain medical evidence that proves you meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing, you may still be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you can prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of gainful work activity.

The SSA will review you residual functional capacity. If it is determined that you are unable to work due to the symptoms you are facing, you may be granted disability benefits based on a vocational allowance. You will, however, need to provide as much documentation and evidence as possible to support your claim. If you fail to do so, you may be denied and have to prove your case during a disability appeal—which can add months to the process.

The Services of a Social Security Disability Attorney

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can often be complicated and time consuming. If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused by the process, it may be in your best interest to retain the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney. An attorney or advocate will be able to help you gather medical evidence and properly submit your claim to the SSA.

To learn more about consulting with a Social Security attorney or to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability claim, click here.

Submitted by: Molly Clarke