A lot of people have never heard of gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a condition that affects the muscles responsible for moving food through the stomach. The stomach is unable to empty its contents, resulting in symptoms that include pain, retching (dry heaves), acid reflux, nausea/vomiting, and bloating.
Gastroparesis is a poorly understood condition. Its exact cause is unknown, and there isn’t a cure. To raise awareness about this little-known condition, August has been declared Gastroparesis Awareness Month. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) and other organizations are taking this time to inform and educate the public about gastroparesis diagnosis and treatment, the need for more research, and the challenges facing those living with the condition.
Gastroparesis is a chronic disease. Treatments don’t resolve the condition, only manage its symptoms. In many instances, dietary and lifestyle changes can slow the progress of the disease. These include:
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Chewing food thoroughly
- Avoiding heavy foods
- Avoiding carbonated liquids
- Eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones
- Avoiding lying down until at least two hours after a meal
These treatment options only slow the progress of the disease. As the condition gets more severe, medication or surgery may be required to alleviate the symptoms.
Gastroparesis and Social Security Disability Benefits
In some cases, the symptoms of gastroparesis may become so severe that they become disabling. If a person is unable to work due to the symptoms of their gastroparesis or prescribed treatments, they may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
While gastroparesis doesn’t have its own listing in the Social Security Administration’s Bluebook Listing of Impairments, a person may still qualify for disability benefits.
“Equivalency” is a method in which an applicant demonstrates that the impairments caused by their condition and/or its treatment are equal in severity to a condition that is already included in the listing. To determine if an applicant meets the qualifications for a disability, the Social Security Administration will conduct a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This RFC assessment is used to evaluate an applicant’s mental and physical capacity to maintain a job on a regular basis.
To get a favorable RTC assessment, an applicant needs to submit a record of their medical evidence that includes clinical and laboratory findings. This should include appropriate medically acceptable imaging studies and reports of endoscopy, operations, and pathology to document the severity and duration of their gastroparesis. The Social Security Administration will also look at the effects of treatment, including medication, therapy, surgery, or any other form of treatment, and determine if there are improvements in the symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings of their gastroparesis.
Has Your Claim for Disability Benefits Due to Gastroparesis Been Denied?
Because of the unpredictability of its symptoms, it’s often difficult to qualify for Social Security Administration benefits for gastroparesis. If your claim for Social Security disability benefits for gastroparesis was denied, it may be simply because you failed to provide the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Houston Social Security attorney M. Stanley Whitehead can help you put together an appeals package that answers all the questions the SSA is going to ask during its RFC assessment. M. Stanley Whitehead is a board-certified disability attorney who has helped clients across the nation with gastroparesis and other disabling conditions get the disability benefits they deserve. Contact the law offices of M. Stanley Whitehead through this website or call (713) 993-7311 to discuss your disability benefits claim.