Can You Get Social Security Disability for Pancreatitis?

Wondering if you can qualify for Social Security disability benefits due to pancreatitis? You don’t think much about your pancreas until you get pancreatitis, the swelling of a large gland that lives behind your stomach and makes insulin and digestive “juices” needed to process food. When it’s not healthy, the pain can be so severe as to be debilitating.

Pancreatitis, a condition causing inflammation of the pancreas, can significantly impact daily life. Whether you’re navigating this condition or assisting a loved one, understanding the eligibility criteria for SSD benefits is crucial. By exploring the specific requirements and considerations for getting disability benefits from pancreatitis, you’ll gain clarity on your eligibility status.

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a medical condition characterized by inflammation of the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach. It can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and digestive issues.

There are two forms of pancreatitis:

  1. Acute pancreatitis usually clears up in a week or two with treatment, though about 29.2 out of 100,000 episodes of acute pancreatitis require hospitalization
  2. Chronic pancreatitis doesn’t improve, frequently worsens, and can lead to pancreatic cancer or loss of your pancreas.

We’ve gathered the information you need to find out if you can get Social Security Disability for pancreatitis.

Can You Still Work with Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis Pain & Symptoms

If your condition is acute, you probably can stay on the job. But some symptoms and complications of chronic pancreatitis  make it difficult to work:

  • Bone fractures, osteoporosis and osteopenia
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Malnutrition, malabsorption and maldigestion

These conditions can affect your ability to concentrate or process information, impair your physical capacity, and cause weaknesses and/or dizziness.

Can You Receive Disability for Pancreatitis?

Whether or not you can receive disability for chronic pancreatitis depends on the severity of your condition. First, you have to meet the eligibility requirements for one of the Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits programs:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): for people who have paid money into the system through previous employment and earned work credits.
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI): for people who meet other criteria, such as low income.

IMPORTANT: The SSA reports that at least 38% of all Social Security disability claims are denied for technical issues. Experienced disability lawyers know how to avoid the tiny errors that can keep you from getting the benefits you deserve.

Chronic pancreatitis probably qualifies even though it isn’t listed in the SSA Blue Book, the list of impairments the agency says prevent you from working. Many conditions associated with it are, so you’ll need a lot of medical evidence to verify you’re experiencing those symptoms and complications. No matter which disability benefit you qualify for, the medical evidence requirements are the same.

Download the SSA’s handy checklist of documents and evidence you need to apply for SSI and SSDI.

Although pancreatitis is not considered a qualifying condition in the SSA Blue Book, it may still be possible to qualify for disability benefits if you have chronic pancreatitis. The SSA will still approve disability benefits to individuals whose disabilities cause certain symptoms that they would consider disabling. Here are some of the symptoms and complications of chronic pancreatitis covered in the Blue Book:

What if My Pancreatitis is Linked to Excessive Alcohol Use?

Chronic pancreatitis is more common in people living with alcoholism and excessive alcohol use. If your condition would improve if you stopped drinking, the SSA could deny disability benefits, and you may struggle to get benefits for your pancreatitis. Get the facts about alcoholism and disability benefits.

I’ve Lost a Lot of Weight from Pancreatitis. Will That Help My Case?

Possibly. Some forms of extreme weight loss do qualify as a disability.

In order to be eligible for social security disability benefits from weight loss, you must be able to prove you’re receiving medical care from a doctor, and you must have a BMI of less than 17.50 in two separate evaluations at least 60 days apart within one year. If you’re still experiencing severe weight loss and malnourishment, your digestive system disorders may then qualify for Social Security.

Medical Evidence to Submit That Supports Your Pancreatitis Disability Claim

Pancreatitis Medical Treatment and Documentation

Medical evidence backs up your disability claim. The SSA reviews information that shows your condition prevents you from working or earning a living, and interferes with your ability to perform daily activities, like personal care, cooking and housekeeping.

You must submit three forms of medical evidence:

  1. Digital or photocopies of medical records, doctors’ reports and recent test results
  2. Information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying, and understanding and remembering instructions. PRO TIP: Ask your doctor fora residual functional capacity test to verify how your chronic pancreatitis impacts what you can and cannot do.
  3. Statements from doctors, you and others that explain:
    • Your illnesses, injuries or conditions
    • When they began
    • How they limit your activities
    • Conclusions from medical tests
    • Treatments received

PRO TIP: Keep a personal record of how your condition impacts your personal life and your ability to work.

Need Help Qualifying for Disability? Talk to a Nearby Expert for Free

Living with chronic pancreatitis while applying for disability benefits can be more of a challenge than you want to endure. A Social Security attorney eases the strain and makes you almost 3x more likely to receive benefits within 6 months. If you don’t work with an attorney, you often have to appeal a denial 2-3 times to win benefits years later.

IMPORTANT: People who qualify for legal assistance through this website usually get at least $13,800 in back pay and monthly benefits.

Social Security lawyers in every state work on contingency, so you’ll pay nothing for claim help now. If the SSA doesn’t approve your benefits, your disability attorney gets $0. If your case does win, then you’ll only pay one small fee.

Click here to find out if a lawyer in our network can help you.

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Margot Lester is the CEO ofThe Word Factory,a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer,helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter/