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Ulcers and Disability Benefits

Ulcers are painful wounds that can form in various places throughout the body, including the eyes, skin, and digestive tract. Chronic and persistent ulcer formation is related to a number of different serious medical conditions, including Lupus, Vasculitis, and Colitis, among others.

While chronic ulcers can certainly affect your ability to function and to perform your job, it is rare for ulcers alone to qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Most people that suffer from persistent ulcers qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for the underlying medical condition that causes their ulcers to arise instead.

Medically Qualifying with Ulcers

The SSA utilizes disability listings in reviewing applications for benefits. These listings appear in the Blue Book manual. The following listings may apply when you suffer from ulcers:

  • Section 5.02 – This listing applies to gastrointestinal bleeding due to any cause, provided the bleeding is severe enough to require repeated blood transfusions. If you suffer from severe gastric ulcers or ulcerations in any other location in your gastrointestinal tract, you can potentially qualify for disability benefits under this listing. To meet this listing, your medical records must show:
    • You received blood transfusions at least three times within a consecutive 6-month period.
    • Your blood transfusions must have occurred at least 30-days apart, but still within the 6-month consecutive timeframe.
    • You received two units or more of blood during each transfusion.
  • Section 8.04 - Chronic ulcers on the skin or mucous membranes that become infected can qualify you for benefits under this listing if you have had them for at least three month despite receiving treatment.
  • Section 8.06 – If you suffer from Hidradenitis suppurativa, you can qualify for benefits by showing your ulcers or lesions have been present for at least three months despite following prescribed treatments.
  • Section 5.06 – Inflammatory bowel disease of any kind, including Colitis, can qualify under this listing. If you suffer from ulcers due to Colitis, your medical records must show your condition was diagnosed through medically acceptable processing, including biopsies and endoscopies. Records must additionally reflect:
    • Hospitalization 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
    • OR

    • at least two of the following issues over a 6-month period despite receiving continuous treatment:
      • Anemia
      • Low serum albumin blood results
      • Painful abdominal mass
      • Perineal disease, including an abscess or fistula
      • Severe, involuntary weight loss
      • IV or feeding tube nutrition delivery required

These listings are the most common under which you may qualify with ulcers, but they are not the only ones. Even if you are unable to meet a listed condition, you may be able to medically match one, if your ulcers are severe or if they are a symptom or complication of another serious medical condition.

Getting Help with Your Claim

Because ulcers alone are not considered disabling, your application for SSD benefits can be problematic. Having the assistance of a Social Security attorney or advocate that has experience with claims like yours can improve your chances of being approved for benefits