Interstitial Cystitis

The excruciating bladder syndrome known as interstitial cystitis is a chronic condition that causes frequent, urgent trips to the bathroom. The disorder produces pressure and pain below the belly button. In a healthy person, the bladder stores urine until it becomes full. At this point, the brain receives a signal from the pelvic nerves indicating that it is time to urinate. With interstitial cystitis, the signals become confused. Sufferers receive the signal more often and release smaller volumes. In addition to the persistent need to urinate, the condition has a wide range of other symptoms. These include bladder and pelvic pain, especially when the bladder fills, as well as painful intercourse, which can range from a dull ache to a severe piercing sensation. Interstitial cystitis patients may also develop bladder ulcers. Symptoms can be sporadic or constant. The disease brings many challenges as it disrupts an individual’s sleep, social life and ability to work as it may cause him or her to urinate more than 40 times a day instead of the normal 6 to 8. While medications and other treatments can make life easier for sufferers, there is no cure.

What is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides financial assistance to people who meet certain federal guidelines. Funded by your payroll taxes, the program is designed to provide supplemental income to individuals who have a mental or physical condition that prevents them from being employed in a substantial gainful activity. The entitlement program is generally available to individuals who have paid into the Social Security system for 10 years and earned a certain number of work credits. Disabled adult children and younger beneficiaries can receive benefits based on different requirements, which are typically based on their parents’ work history. SSDI is not means tested. The amount of a recipient’s monthly stipend can vary based on the beneficiary’s earnings history. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have a qualifying condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Under SSDI, a spouse and dependent children may be eligible to receive partial benefits.

Getting SSDI for Interstitial Cystitis

The Social Security Administration will use the Residual Functional Capacity process to determine an individual’s maximum capability to perform eight hours of work five days a week on a regular and continuous basis. How much the symptoms of interstitial cystitis and the effect of your treatment impact the ability to work will determine your eligibility for SSDI.

Although interstitial cystitis is not specifically listed as a disability in the Social Security roster of impairments commonly referred to as the “Blue Book,” there are other ways that sufferers may still qualify for SSDI. Interstitial cystitis may worsen or occur in conjunction with other diseases like depression, multiple sclerosis and lupus. The severity of the impairment may be medically equivalent to another listed condition. Another way to qualify is to combine multiple impairments in addition to interstitial cystitis. Even if the combination does not equal a listed condition, the severity of the conditions may be sufficient to qualify for SSDI.

Getting Help from an Attorney

You can improve your chances for receiving SSDI benefits by keeping a detailed history of your urinary frequency, any usual activities that you can no longer perform and any negative effects the condition has had on your job performance. You should see a medical professional regularly and follow any prescribed courses of treatment. Ask your health care provider to keep detailed records that can support your disability claim.

Many initial applications and appeals are denied for a variety of reasons. If you need assistance filing an initial claim or an appeal, you should enlist the help of an attorney knowledgeable in SSDI procedures. An experienced Social Security attorney can quickly gather the medical evidence and other documentation required to support your claim for a review hearing. Individuals aided by competent legal representation are more likely to be successful than those without professional assistance. A lawyer familiar with the complex Social Security rules and procedures will also ensure that your rights are fully protected during the process. If you are disabled, cannot work and have been denied SSDI, you need someone on your side who understands the difficulty of living with a debilitating disease. We know how to navigate the complex disability claims process. An attorney can provide the assistance that you need to secure the benefits that you deserve in order to maintain your financial independence.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.