You’ve received the relatively common diagnosis of interstitial cystitis. More than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with interstitial cystitis each year. While you all live with this chronic medical condition, your symptoms and the impact of those symptoms on your daily life are unique.
Interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that affects the bladder. Symptoms may include:
- Pain that can range from mild to severe
- Bladder pressure
- The need to urinate frequently
- Painful sexual intercourse
Currently, there is no cure for interstitial cystitis. However, some medications and therapies may offer relief from some symptoms for some people.
Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?
Your pain, the frequent need to urinate, and the disruption in sleep that comes with the frequent need to urinate can all interfere with your ability to work. However, the Social Security Administration currently does not include interstitial cystitis in the Social Security Disability Blue Book Listing of Impairments. Instead, you will need to qualify for benefits in one of the following other ways:
- Your condition meets another Blue Book listing. Interstitial cystitis may not be your only medical condition. While interstitial cystitis can occur on its own, it may also occur with other health concerns or it may cause other medical conditions that are included in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments. For example, people who are diagnosed with lupus are much more likely to suffer from interstitial cystitis. If you meet the requirements in Listing 14.02 because of your lupus, you will qualify for Social Security disability. Additionally, interstitial cystitis can cause other conditions such as depression (which is included in Section 12.04 of the Blue Book) or anxiety (which is included in Section 12.06 of the Blue Book).
- Your condition is equal in severity to another Blue Book listing. You may not have been diagnosed with lupus and you may not suffer from depression, anxiety, or another listing in the Blue Book. Yet, your physical condition is every bit as severe as other Blue Book listings. The Social Security Administration recognizes that it would be unfair to deny you benefits while someone else who is suffering the same pain and complications is allowed to receive Social Security disability benefits. Accordingly, if you can prove that your condition is medically equivalent to a specific Blue Book listing, you should be found to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In order to be found eligible in this way, your condition must be as severe and must last as long as the impairment that you are claiming to be equivalent to your own.
- Your physical condition prevents you from working. Sometimes, you may be unable to work and your condition may not be medically equivalent to a Blue Book listing nor will you qualify pursuant to a specific Blue Book listing. If the complications of interstitial cystitis interfere with your ability to hold down a job, the Social Security Administration may find that you lack the functional capacity to engage in substantial gainful activity. In other words, you do not have the physical ability to work enough to make the minimum amount that federal regulations establish as substantial gainful activity.
Regardless of how you qualify, you are going to have to prove your eligibility. This means that you will need to file a strong and complete application with supporting medical documentation that describes how your interstitial cystitis impacts your life.
Get the Help You Need Before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
Getting the Social Security disability benefits you deserve is not always easy. The majority of initial applications are denied. Even if these applicants are successful on appeal, they suffer a delay in getting the monthly benefits they may need to pay their bills. You can help prevent this hardship for yourself by working with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer who will fight to get you the benefits you deserve in a timely manner.
To learn more, please read our FREE Social Security Disability Fact Sheet or contact us via this website or by phone to schedule an individual meeting with a board certified Social Security disability lawyer.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.