Can You Get Disability For Crohn’s Disease?

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Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. But can you get disability for Crohn’s disease? Learn more to identify the severity of the disease. 

Living with an illness that costs you money and takes a toll on your physical and mental capacity is exhausting. On average, about 5,00,000 North Americans show signs of Crohn’s Disease that affects their quality of life. 

While the exact cause is not known, only the symptoms make a person realize the extremity of the disease. Read through this article to learn about its implications, cost, and laws that prevent you from facing a financial burden. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease

What Is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is one of the two standard forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the other being ulcerative colitis. A person with Crohn’s disease experiences severe swelling and redness in the small and large intestines. 

Surprisingly, this inflammation appears in small or large patches, not necessarily limiting to one part of the digestive tract. That is to say, a disease like Crohn’s can develop in any area of the digestive system starting from the mouth to the anus. 

So, while the disease is likely to occur in the intestinal tract, there have been rare diagnosis cases in other parts of the digestive tract. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease

What Are The Five Types of Crohn’s Disease?

Researchers report that Crohn’s is not curable. However, it is only the result of unknown causes that weakens the body’s immune system, resulting in a chronic disorder like Crohn’s. It most likely affects teenagers and young adults aged between 20 to 40 years. However, the severity and symptoms can still be different for different individuals. 

The five variations of Crohn’s disease itself highlight how important it is to find the proper treatment before the person reaches the stage of flare-up symptoms. 

It is said that the symptoms for these five types of Crohn’s disease are independent of each other, primarily because Crohn’s attacks different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. 


The majority of people may develop this form of Crohn’s disease. Ileocolitis causes inflammation in the end part of the small intestine (also called the ileum) and the large intestine (commonly known as the colon). 

Symptoms may include:

  • Chronic Diarrhea
  • Weight lossInflammatory bowel disease ( ) includes, but is not limited to, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
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  • Abdominal pain, particularly in the bottom right or middle of the abdomen. 
  • Unbearable cramping


Another most common form of Crohn’s Disease is Ileitis which affects only the ending part of the small intestine. The early signs of Ileitis may feel similar to the symptoms that cause Ileocolitis. Still, it can also show inflamed pus on the lower right side of the belly.

Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease


Gastroduodenal is a disease that infects the stomach and the first section of the small intestine, also known as the duodenum. This is a digestive disorder that impacts the functioning of the whole digestive tract system. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, leading to vomiting in some cases. 
  • Weight reduction
  • A feeling of poor appetite


Jejunoileitis disease is known to cause pain and swelling in the middle part of the small intestine, which is also known as the Jejunum. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Bellyache 
  • Formation of the Fistula, which abnormally connects two organs, allowing the cavity to enter the blood vessel. 
Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease

Crohn’s Granulomatous Colitis:

The central part of the large intestine is the possible region where the Granulomatous disease attacks and causes severe skin diseases. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Skin problems
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Ulcers and boils around the anus. 

It is also important to note that any of these types of Crohn’s disease can overlap, occurring at the same time. 

You might also like to read: Foods that Help with Bowel Incontinence

Can You Work If You Have Crohn’s Disease?

The disease is more likely to attack individuals between 20 to 40 years. Particularly impacting the quality of life and career as the symptoms can stop you from working for long hours. However, you can sustain your career if you know about the laws that protect people with Crohn’s disease against discrimination. 

The U.S. Social Security Administration is a federal agency that administers social security disability insurance and retirement and survivor benefits. The Social Security Administration enlists inflammatory bowel disease as a disability. So, it also considers Crohn’s as a disability. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that every person with a disability can enjoy the same rights as a person with a non-disability. The act works to protect the dignity and ensures no unfair treatment based on a Crohn’s disability. Interestingly, the law covers an entity in the employment sector. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulates the law, which serves every private company with more than 15 employees. 

As per the law, employees with Crohn’s disability must receive appropriate accommodations from the employer. For example, an adjustment of the desk with easy access to the washroom, flexible time schedules, choice to work according to one’s ability, and special equipment to enhance productivity. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease

Understanding The Costs of Crohn’s Disease

The advent of technologies and the use of clinically-tested medicines are staggering the overall treatment costs. While some may benefit from medications to relieve symptoms, it is easily noticeable that few of these signs can require immediate surgery. Or, in many cases, therapies combine both the alternative and mental health therapy. 

Medications and emergency room visits costs. 

A 2020 study states that the direct cost of care for Crohn’s disease can contribute to $22,000 per year for medicare-insured patients. During the first year of initial diagnosis, the price can even rise to $26,500. 

Above all, the out-of-pocket costs can stretch to $2213 per year. The direct costs of care mainly arise from medications like steroids, opioids, and biologics. Also, you can expect these costs from the use of emergency departments and treatments that may also involve mental health. 

Another study in the 2016 journal reveals that the lifetime cost for treating Crohn’s disease can go upto $1,60,000 for pharmacy and $20,000 for emergency room visits. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohn's Disease

Expenses relating to mental health disorders and other complications.

The average cost for curing any mental health disease may reach $35,700 a year. Inflammatory Bowel Disease significantly impacts mental health because of persistent symptoms. If you have Crohn’s, you must have already experienced anxiety, depression, and feeling of isolation at some point in time. 

You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability For Spondylosis?

Can You Get Disability for Crohn’s Disease?

Social Security Administration considers Crohn’s Disease as a disability. It also provides monetary benefits to cover the high-end costs of treatment. A person with Crohn’s can exercise most of the Social security benefits if they qualify for all of the below conditions

  • Your income should be less than $1310 a month. 
  • If the disease negatively influences your career for at least a year. 
  • You face symptoms that can easily stretch for more than a year. 
  • If you have a medical record that verifies if you are eligible for criteria under SSA 5.6 listing, Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 
Can You Get Disability For Crohn's Disease

How Can I Qualify Under the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Listing?

To meet the criteria mentioned in the 5.06 listing, you must have records for any of the following conditions:

  • A bowel obstruction, which blocks the small and large intestines, either due to a tumor or scar tissue.
  • A record of a medical condition that required surgery, imaging test, blood tests or hospitalization is also necessary to avail of the benefits.
  • A draining abscess of fistula as part of Perineal disease
  • You can qualify for Inflammatory bowel disease listing if your medical history indicates that the disease happened at least twice in 6 months, in a gap of 60 days. 


You also met with any of the two symptoms below:

  • Large and painful abdominal mass with no effect of pain medications. 
  • Occurrence of Anemia with hemoglobin levels below 10g/dL.
  • A fistula that shows no improvement even after taking pain-relieving medicines. 
  • Low Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.0 OR more than 10% of involuntary weight loss. 
  • A prescription for enteral nutrition with a diet sheet. 

You should also ensure that the symptoms are likely falling within 6-month to 60 days. 

If you still don’t meet any of the conditions above, you can still get disability benefits under the weight-loss listing. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohn's Disease

How can I Qualify For Disability Under the Weight Loss Listing?

Certain conditions make you qualify for a 5.08 listing, Weight Loss. You may have to provide proof of:

  • Weight loss even after all the possible treatments by a doctor. 
  • Low Body Mass Index of less than 17.50 with proof of doctor’s visit for the two times. 
  • Doctor’s prescription after every 60 days in six months. 

You might also like to read: Can You Get Disability With A Felony?

How Can I Qualify For Social Security Benefits Without Meeting a Disability Listing?

The next question is, what if you don’t meet any of the conditions under the two listings? You can still turn to the disability benefits through an evaluation process. The agency will analyze your symptoms to gauge your working capacity. 

It is done by Residual Functional capacity that gives a rating by checking if you were able to do past work too. When authorities find your inability, they will monitor other jobs that suit your current physical and mental status. 

Can You Get Disability For Crohns Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 How serious is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease can lead to severe complications like mouth ulcers, pus-filled infections, Fistulas, Anemia, and skin diseases. 

#2 What is the life expectancy of someone with Crohn’s disease?

Life expectancy for females is 6.6 to 8.1 in females, whereas males have 5.0 to 6.1 years of life with Crohn’s disease. 

#3 Does Crohn’s disease qualify for FMLA?

Yes. The Family and Medical Leave Act grants 12 weeks of paid leaves if you or your family member is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. 

A Few Final Words

In a nutshell, Crohn’s is not life-threatening as long as you are aware of its complications. You should follow all the guidelines that your doctor provides to improve the condition. 

Moreover, having knowledge on the disability laws will go a long way to living an independent life. If you like the article, please submit your feedback to help us improve. For any further doubts, do not hesitate to reach out to us.