What Exactly Is Crohns Disease
Crohns disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, is a condition in which there is inflammation in the lining of the digestive tract. This inflammation can cause diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, and fatigue.
In severe cases, intestinal blockages, ulcers, and malnutrition may occur.
Crohns disease is an unpredictable chronic illness, known for its flares and remissions. As such, a person suffering from Crohns disease often faces many physical and emotional challenges.
As a general rule, Crohns disease is considered a progressive illness, meaning that for most people it tends to get worse over time. This means that many individuals who do not initially qualify for SSDI benefits may later qualify as the disease progresses.
While there is no known cure for Crohns, there are many possible treatments to help decrease the severity of the symptoms.
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Veteran Communities Receive Latest Resources For Crohns Disease And Ulcerative Colitis
WASHINGTON, March 9, 2022 – The Department of Veterans Affairs encourages Veterans affected by inflammatory bowel diseases to access a new website that raises awareness of Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis.
Veterans can use the site to get step-by-step instructions to access treatment and links to VA resources connecting with online communities and peer to peer support to improve their quality of life.
A 2020 study of VA data found that rates of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder increased among Veterans diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease over time, said National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships Nurse Executive Tracy L. Weistreich, Ph.D. Its important we find ways to assist our Veterans with all issues relevant to this chronic condition, especially Veterans who may not be receiving care through VA.
Through this partnership, the Crohns & Colitis Foundation will provide educational materials and share resources widely with VA staff, Veterans and the public to increase knowledge about inflammatory bowel diseases and treatment options. VA will train the Foundation on Veteran-specific concerns like suicide prevention and share free resources such as the Veterans Crisis Line.
Learn more about this and other partnerships facilitated by HAP.
What Causes Crohns Disease
The causes of Crohns disease are unknown. However, it is believed to be caused by a combination of factors. Scientists state those causes are environmental and genetic. Additionally, Crohns disease can also be due to immune factors.
It results in a chronic inflammatory disorder, in which the bodys immune system defends the gastrointestinal tract, possibly targeting microbial antigens. While Crohns is an immune-related disease, it does not appear to be an autoimmune disease.
In an autoimmune disease, like Lupus, the immune system is not being triggered by the body itself. The exact underlying immune problem is not clear however, it may be an immunodeficiency state.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Chronic Crohns Disease
A long-term condition, Crohns is one of a group of disorders known as inflammatory bowel disease . Crohns disease can be extremely debilitating and painful. It is generally a lifelong problem for which there is no definitive cure.
With Crohns, the intestines are irritated and inflamed, often with complications of sores and bowel obstructions. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, as well as abdominal pain and cramping. Flare-ups may come on suddenly and last weeks or months, turning your world into chaos and suffering.
Other symptoms include rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever. There may also be complications caused by malnutrition. Many people encounter impairments in areas beyond the intestinal tract, including arthritis, kidney disease, vitamin D deficiencies, migraines, and eye and skin disorders.
Applying For Disability Because Of Ibd
IBDs can affect the lining of the large intestine, causing inflammation and ulcers. This can damage the bodys digestive system, where crucial nutrients in your diet are lost through leaks along the lining of the colon and are excreted from the body as diarrhea. This complication can lead to excessive weight loss. If you have lost a significant amount of weight due to ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, you can qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administrationâs listing for weight loss.
Weight loss in itself is not considered a disability under the SSA, but it is classified as a symptom arising from a range of other complications that you may be experiencing and therefore affecting your ability to work. If you are experiencing involuntary weight loss, you can apply for benefits under section 5.08 which was written to specifically address weight loss due to any digestive disorder. To qualify, you need to have undergone treatment by a doctor and have recorded a BMI of 17.5 or less on two occasions over the span of 6 months.
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Risk Factors How Veterans Get Crohns Disease
Several factors may increase your risk of developing Crohns disease. For one thing, youre more likely to develop this condition when youre young most people who have Crohns disease get diagnosed before they turn thirty years old. Smoking may also leave you at higher risk of developing Crohns, and it can make the disease a lot more severe if you do develop it.
Crohns disease seems to primarily affect white people, especially those of Eastern European Jewish descent. You may be at higher risk of developing it if you have a parent, sibling, or child who has the disease. And while no medications are known to cause Crohns disease, taking NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen and others, can make the condition worse.
While there have been attempts to make Crohns Disease a presumptive for Gulf War veterans, they have so far failed. Since the cause is still difficult to pin down, many veterans who win their VA application for Crohns disease do so because they can prove that they had symptoms while they were enlisted. If you can report evidence of repeated diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain, you have a much better chance of winning. Remember, proving a service connection doesnt always mean proof that your service caused it. You can also get VA disability by proving that the condition started while you were enlisted.
How Veterans With Ulcers Can Get Benefits
In a seemingly contradictory manner, the VAs regulationsspecifically list peptic ulcer disease in 38 CFR 3.309 as a disability that isentitled to a presumptive service connection for prisoners of war held30 days or longer. How can the VA regulations simultaneously take the positionthat peptic ulcer disease is an acknowledged disability suffered by POWs butthat peptic ulcers are too vague to receive a disability rating?
Reconciling this contradiction requires an understanding of the VAs process for granting a disability benefits claim. Every claim must include both a ratable disability and a service connection that ties the disability to the veterans military service.
Peptic ulcer disease can be thought of as a family of disorders that clearly includes gastric ulcers and duodenal ulcers and may possibly include esophageal ulcers and marginal ulcers as well. The VAs past cases support the proposition that peptic ulcer disease is a disability that is entitled to benefits. However, to obtain a rating, a veteran must have a more specific diagnosis than peptic ulcer disease.
By analogy, a back injury is a disability that is entitled to VA disability benefits. However, to obtain a rating, a veteran must obtain a diagnosis of whether the back injury affects the cervical spine or lumbar spine because each is associated with different ratings.
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Rating Tables And Charts
This chapter contains eight “Other Impairment” tables which may be used to rate entitled gastrointestinal conditions. Two reference charts are also included within this chapter. The first notes ideal weights by sex, height, and body build. The second is a body mass index chart.
The tables within this chapter give specific impairment ratings based largely on the presence of symptoms however, most tables also contain applicable functional loss criteria .
The tables within this chapter are:
|Chart 2 – Body Mass Index Chart||This is a body mass index chart.|
Complications Of Ibd As A Disability
People may also be eligible for disability benefits if they experience unintentional weight loss due to a digestive disorder. They need to have two body mass index readings of less than 17.50, taken 60 days apart.
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The Family And Medical Leave Act
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that allows unpaid, job-protected leave.
Employees of a covered employer can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for medical reasons within a period of 12 months. Employees must have worked at their workplace for at least 12 months.
A covered employer is a private-sector employer with at least 50 employees in at least 20 workweeks. It can also include a public agency or elementary or secondary school.
People with UC may also require general sick leave for related surgery, doctors visits, mental health, or other health-related appointments.
Crohns Disease And Ulcerative Colitis Can Lead To Disability
The inflammatory bowel diseases are incurable, chronic illnesses that include Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and indeterminate colitis. IBD affects the digestive system, causing inflammation which results in symptoms such as fatigue abdominal pain, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and in some cases, blood in the stool.
Many people who live with IBD find a treatment that helps stop the inflammation and the symptoms. However, for some, the disease can turn out to be quite severe and difficult to treat. This is especially true when there are extra-intestinal symptoms or they have a diagnosis of an associated condition.
These complications can limit life activities and make keeping a job difficult. In those cases, it may make sense to apply for disability benefits. There are, however, certain criteria that must be met in order to receive those benefits.
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Arthritis Patients That Took Xeljanz:
Did you take Xeljanz for at least one year? Have you been diagnosed with cancer, blood clots, or a heart problem?
Xeljanz is a medicine prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and colitis. If you had any of these conditions and took Xeljanz, contact us to see if your side-effects qualify for this case.
Ptsd And Crohns Disease
One way to potentially get a service connection for Crohns disease is as a secondary condition to PTSD. As we mentioned, stress can aggravate Crohns disease, and while this isnt a cause, it can certainly make your condition more difficult to manage. If you have a service connection for PTSD, you could connect your Crohns symptoms to that to get compensation.
A secondary service connection means that you have a disease that, while not a direct result of your military service, is a complication of another condition that was caused by your military service. This allows you to get a disability rating for both conditions, as they all tie back to your service record. The VA will use VA Math to evaluate the ratings for each condition and give you one overall combined disability rating. You can do your own VA Math with our combined rating calculator.
Here is a video of one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers teaching you how to use our VA Disability Combined Ratings Calculator.
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S To Determine Gastrointestinal Pancreas Assessment
- Step 1: Determine the rating from Table 14.7 .
- Step 2: Does the Partially Contributing Table apply? If yes, then apply to rating at Step 1.
- Step 3: Determine the Quality of Life rating.
- Step 4: Add the ratings at Step 2 and Step 3.
- Step 5: If partial entitlement exists, apply to the rating at Step 4.
This is the Disability Assessment
Peptic Ulcers And Ulcerative Colitis Caused By Service
A service connection to support peptic ulcer or ulcerative colitis military disability can be established by providing evidence that the digestive system disability manifested during your time in the service. This can be established by providing military medical records that include a diagnosis of ulcers or ulcerative colitis. If several of you in your division caught something that brought it on, you can use buddy statements to back up your claim.
Thank you so much for handling my appeals. You guys made it painless and easy to understand the process. And most of all thank you for helping me take better care of my family! ????
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Give Yourself A Better Chance Of Obtaining Disability Benefits For Crohns Disease
Dont let a delay or denial turn into months or even years before getting the benefits you deserve. We provide significant help, and your initial consultation is always free. If your disability claim was denied by the SSA, an insurance company, or the VA, please contact us.
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Autoimmune Diseases And Your Va Benefits Claim
Autoimmune disease is a term that covers at least 80 different known conditions. An autoimmune disease or autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system is unable to distinguish between foreign invaders and healthy tissue, producing antibodies that destroy the bodys own tissue instead of the infection.
Some of the most commonly-recognized autoimmune diseases include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, celiac disease, psoriasis, and fibromyalgia. Autoimmune diseases can be debilitating and they are difficult to diagnose because symptoms are broad, including fatigue, chronic joint pain, digestive problems, muscle weakness, inflamed skin, hair loss, and chronic, unspecified pain.
Rules for VA Compensation
In order for you to receive compensation through the VA, you must have been honorably discharged, served on active duty or in active or inactive duty training, and have a disability rating for your service-connected condition. In addition, one of the following must be true:
- You got sick or injured while serving in the military and can link this to your current illness or injury
- You had an illness or injury before joining the military which was worsened by your service
- You have a disability-related to your active-duty service that did not appear until after you ended service
Connecting Autoimmune Disease to Your Service
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Inflammatory Bowel Disease And Disability Insurance: A Claimants Guide
The symptoms and uncertainty associated with inflammatory bowel disease can turn your life upside down. If youre unable to work due to your ulcerative colitis or Crohns disease, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. However, the process of getting benefits can feel overwhelming especially during a flare.
At Bryant Legal Group, we guide people through their complex disability insurance claims and help them get the benefits they deserve. In this article, we discuss the essentials of IBD-related disability claims.
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I Have Ulcerative Colitis
The Sullivan Law Office focuses on the individual aspect of every application for social security benefits since each application is unique to the individual. The Sullivan Law Office may help during the long and sometimes stressful gathering of personal information and medical evidence involved in process of applying for disability benefits. Applicants should understand every necessary detail before they file an application and the Social Security Administration determines eligibility. The assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney is often vital to a successful application for disability benefits.
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Are Disability Benefits Available For Colitis
Colitis, or ulcerative colitis, is a condition thats demonstrated through the inflammation of the colon.
Colitis symptoms differ from one case to another, though there are some common signs, including: Abdominal cramping Loss of control of bowel function Fever Sleepiness Weight loss
There are numerous causes for colitis, though the most common are infections, inadequate blood supply, and autoimmune reactions. Colitis treatment comes in the form of medications that suppress the bodys autoimmune system, or in extreme cases, surgery.
Va Compensation Veterans Disability Benefits For Crohns Disease
If you are a military veteran anywhere in the United States with a denial of service connection, you have been rated too low, or youre unsure about a potential claim based on Crohns disease, please contact us for an immediate, free legal consultation with an accredited Veterans claims attorney.
The VA rating schedule, while extensive, does not provide a unique Diagnostic Code for certain conditions and diseases. One of these conditions is Crohns disease.
For veterans with Crohns, the VA will choose the diagnostic code that is most applicable to the veterans gastrointestinal disorder and should result in the most favorable disability rating. VA refers to this as an analogous rating .
As a rule, the VA will rate your service-connected Crohns disease by analogy under 38 C.F.R. § 4.114, Diagnostic Code 7323 for ulcerative colitis.
Crohns disease is currently rated as 30%.
- A 30% rating requires moderately severe symptoms with frequent exacerbations.
- The next highest 60% rating requires severe symptoms with numerous attacks a year, and malnutrition and the veterans health is only fair during remissions.
- A 100% rating is warranted for pronounced symptoms, resulting in marked malnutrition, anemia, and general debility, or with serious complication as liver abscess.
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Proving A Service Connection
Once you have your diagnosis, you will need to be able to point to a specific incident or set of conditions in your military service that could have caused your condition. If you were in the military when you got your diagnosis, this part of your application process will be taken care of. The VA will have records of military doctors providing your diagnosis and will be able to prove that it began during your military service.
If you had already been discharged from the military when you got your diagnosis, proving a service connection would be more difficult. Since there is no known cause of Crohns disease, you cant point to the specific incident that caused it. While there is some evidence that serving around burn pits can cause inflammatory bowel diseases, you may have a difficult time proving this to the VA.