Problems of the Digestive System that may Qualify for Social Security Disability
(gastrointestinal, liver, bowel, nutrition)

This list of conditions which may qualify one to receive Social Security disability benefits is not intended to be authoritarian in nature and is provided only for your information. This information may not be the latest rulings provided by the SSA. Detailed information can be obtained from the Social Security Administration's website where this information was obtained. You may also fill out the form on this page for a FREE claim evaluation.

Digestive disorders that might make a person eligible for Social Security disability benefits include gastrointestinal hemorrhage, hepatic (liver) dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, short bowel syndrome, and malnutrition. They will also consider those suffering from complications of these illnesses or have manifestations in other body systems. Be sure to include any treatments you may be undertaking to decrease the severity of the problem as well as your reaction to those treatments.

In addition to the usual doctor's notes, the SSA will want any lab reports, clinical findings, imaging results and pathology reports (if applicable) to prove the severity and duration of the digestive system problem. The SSA specifically notes that intravenous nutrition or enteral feeding via a gastrostomy does not insure the reception of Social Security disability benefits. Although the symptoms you may be experiencing from the condition itself may allow you to be eligible for disability.

The Key!

Focusing on how your condition affects your daily life and makes you unsuitable for employment is a must when applying for or appealing Social Security disability for digestive problems.

The Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers can provide you with a FREE disability evaluation and assistance in filing or appealing your Social Security disability for stomach, liver, intestinal and other digestive problems.

Chronic Liver Disease and Chronic Viral Hepatitis Infections

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The SSA defines chronic liver disease on their website as "characterized by liver cell necrosis, inflammation, or scarring (fibrosis or cirrhosis), due to any cause, that persists for more than 6 months."  Liver diseases can produce a myriad of symptoms, some of which can be very disabling.

If your liver disease is associated with hemorrhaging and has required hospitalization and a transfusion of at least two units of blood you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits for up to twelve months following the date of the transfusion with a reconsideration of benefits at the end of that time period.

Otherwise, the SSA will look at various complications resulting from the liver disease to determine if you are eligible for disability benefits. These complications include, but are not limited to, paracentesis, thoracentesis, spontaneous bacterial peritonitis, hepatorenal syndrome, heatopulmonary syndrome, hepatic encephalopathy, or end stage liver disease with SSA CLD scores of 22 or greater following the Social Security Administrations prescribed calculator.

Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage

Gastrointestinal bleeding can produce life threatening conditions very rapidly. Gastrointestinal bleeding can be manifested by vomiting or blood in the stool. For general hemorrhage, the SSA may require at least three hospitalizations at least thirty days apart with transfusions of at least two units of blood each time within a consecutive six month period to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, if you experience hemodynamic instability from your hemorrhage, then the hospitalization requirement is dropped to only one stay in the hospital for transfusion of at least two units of blood. Again, duration of the illness, its prognosis and your functionality are still considered when determining benefits.Social Security Disability for some digestive problems

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease includes many illnesses, most notably are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The SSA understands that many irritable bowel syndrome diseases are not characterized by constant symptoms, but occur frequently enough to create a situation where you may become incapacitated from holding down a job. The Social Security administration will assess the symptoms you suffer with when determining your residual functional capacity when you file for disability benefits for irritable bowel diseases.

Short Bowel Syndrome

If you have had more than one-half of your small intestine removed due to illness or injury you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The key to receiving benefits for short bowel syndrome is proving that the removal of the intestine is causing malnutrition requiring the obtaining of most of your daily nutrition by methods other than normal eating. It helps to obtain benefits if your nutrition is provided via a central venous catheter.

Be prepared to document the surgery and exactly how much of the intestine was removed when filing your claim for Social Security disability benefits. In addition, the SSA will want proof of your dependence on nutritional methods and supplements in addition to normal eating.

Weight Loss Due to a Digestive Disorder

Many digestive disorders, such as esophageal stricture, pancreatic insufficiency, and malabsorption may cause significant weight loss. Significant weight loss is calculated using the Body Mass Index (BMI). If you have experienced weight loss due to a digestive disorder then be sure to document the loss when filing your claim. There must be at least two BMI evaluations conducted at least sixty days apart within a consecutive six month period that show the weight reduction.

Liver Transplant

Due to the risk of complications, rejection and infection resulting from a liver transplant, the Social Security Administration may provide a twelve month benefit period from the date of the transplant for liver transplant recipients.


As with some other impairments, digestive system problems can be caused by multiple conditions. Each problem by itself may not be adequate for you to obtain Social Security disability benefits, but a combination of problems may be more than enough for you to receive your disability payments.

I'm Still Not Sure if I Qualify For Social Security Disability

If you are unsure if your injury, illness or pain allows you to qualify for disability insurance, the acclaimed Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers offers you a FREE consultation whereby your claim may be evaluated. If your case is accepted, our experienced Social Security disability lawyers can help you obtain the benefits you deserve through the Disability System. Under the Cochran Firm Disability Lawyers' Social Security disability program, you will not be charged unless we win your disability benefits for you.

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Social Security Disability List of Injuries and Illnesses

Musculoskeletal System
(back & joint pain, fractures, injuries, Carpal Tunnel)

Respiratory System
(lung diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea)

Digestive System
(gastrointestinal, liver, bowel, nutrition)

Hematological Disorders
(blood related problems)

Endocrine Disorders
(diabetes, pancreatitis)

(brain, stroke, seizures, Parkinson's, head injuries, migraines)

Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
(cancers & tumors)

Special Senses and Speech
(hearing, vision, vertigo)

Cardiovascular System
(heart attacks, chronic heart failure, blood clots)

Genitourinary Impairments
(kidney disease, dialysis)

Skin Disorders
(light sensitivity, burns)

Impairments that Affect Multiple Body Systems
(Down Syndrome)

Mental Disorders
(autism, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and more)

Immune System Disorders
(HIV, lupus, arthritis)


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