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You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, but your eligibility is not automatic. The Social Security Administration does not currently include pancreatitis as a condition in the Listing of Impairments. Therefore, you are going to have to prove that this chronic condition has caused physical limitations that leave you unable to work.

Complications of Chronic Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas gland is inflamed. When the pancreas is inflamed and not working properly, the body’s production of insulin and digestive enzymes can be impacted. All forms of pancreatitis are extremely painful and may result in short term disability. However, the symptoms of acute pancreatitis go away once the inflammation of the pancreas goes away. Chronic pancreatitis, however, can continue with symptoms such as:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Significant weight loss

Typically, people who suffer from chronic pancreatitis are eligible for Social Security disability in one of two ways:

  • They qualify pursuant to Section 5.08 of the Listing of Impairments. This section allows people who suffer weight loss due to any digestive disorder to be eligible for Social Security disability if certain criteria are met. Specifically, the applicant must have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 17.50 on at least two separate occasions at least sixty days apart within six consecutive months.
  • They qualify because their symptoms make them unable to work. The Social Security Administration may look at your residual functional capacity, or your ability to work given your physical limitations. For example, if you are in serious pain and spending lots of time in the bathroom, you may be unable to work effectively and you may be eligible for Social Security disability.

If you suffer from chronic pancreatitis, it is important to have thorough medical records and to work with a board certified lawyer who can help you get the benefits you deserve. To learn more, we encourage you to read our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and to contact us directly to have your questions answered.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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