One key to winning at your Social Security disability hearing is to make sure that the administrative law judge (ALJ) understands the nature of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a book called the "Listing of Impairments" that attempts to clearly define the conditions the SSA recognizes as disabling. Although IBS is not specifically addressed in these listings, some of its symptoms are included under Listing 5.06 for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and under other listings in Section 5: Digestive System Impairments. Even if your Irritable Bowel Syndrome does not meet or equal a listing under Section 5, your symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with your ability to do work-related activities. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Diarrhea that can be frequent and chronic
- Constipation that can be frequent and chronic
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling of fullness or bloating
If an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) can be convinced that your IBS symptoms, such as needing frequent restroom breaks or having bowel accidents, require you to leave your workstation too often during a work day, the judge may conclude you simply cannot perform a full day of work and would be terminated from employment for being off task too often. I have seen Vocational Experts (VE) testify at hearings that excessive bathroom breaks are not tolerated by employers. Through my law practice I have come to understand how frustrating disabling conditions such as IBS can be to my clients, and I work hard to make sure the SSA knows the severe limitations my clients experience.