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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 1/3/2008 7:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Is anyone drawing disability for Crohn's?  If so, how hard was it to get and how long did it take?
44-year-old female.  Crohn's since 1985. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 1/3/2008 7:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi I'm in Canada. I have had Crohn's for 30 years and several things happened following my last resection that complicated my return to work. I was never able to get back to full time employment at my position and 19 months after my surgery, the case manager handling my disability claim (private group coverage) made the decision to reclassify me as permanently disabled. My employer then terminated me because it is a full time position and I was unable to fulfill my duties. Under the contract I had to apply for Canadian Pension Plan (public) disability benefits. I applied in February 2007 and was approved in April 2007. My private insurance continues to pick up the difference between the public pension and my entitlement under the company plan.

I'm in a somewhat different position from many who apply, my original goal was to get back to full time work. It was with the support and encouragement of my health care team, my family and friends, my employer and even my disability insurer that I finally was able to accept that I couldn't return to the position I formally held, do the job I wanted to do, and maintain my health.

From my experience, it is critical to have the support of your health care team before beginning to explore the disability options. Your doctors need to know how your disease is impacting on your ability to work or how work is impacting on your ability to maintain your health. Document everything. Keep a journal of symptoms and how they relate to your work schedule. Build your case before you begin the process. If you have private disability insurance make sure you understand the policy provisions. Most have a two-tiered process. During the initial phase of disability you only have to demonstrate (medically) that you are unable to do your job. During phase two (usually after two-years) the definition of disability changes and to qualify you must be able to demonstrate that you can't do any job for which you could earn a percentage of your former wage (often 66 per cent). During the initial two-year phase there will usually be efforts to rehabilitate you through a graduated return to work. It is very important that you do everything you can to cooperate. I believe that disability process went smoothly for me because the record showed from the beginning that I was willing to work with the rehabilitation consultant and that I did everything that was asked of me. Furthermore, I was able to document my difficulties in meeting the job requirements. There was a paper trail documenting the troubles I continued to have.

30+ years living with Crohn's.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/3/2008 8:49 PM (GMT -7)   


Are you talking disability from your work or SSDI? I have seen other posts with this question on the forum just recently.

Keep on posting.


Co-Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
Co-Moderator Crohn's Disease Forum
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression, GERD, Osteoarthritis
*Wife of a Crohnie*
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 1/3/2008 9:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome,glade to have you sorry that you are dealing with all of this but you have come to the right place.I am on disability for several reason one being I have crohn's,ra,oa,I all so have sejerens and I have a skin conditon called pyderma gangreenosum.When I applyed for my disability I no longer could work due to the crohns and the RA(I had not been diagnosed with the other's untill after I one my disability)there are several thing's that must be done.

There are a couple of ways that you can file but before you do so you need to talk to each of your doctor's to make sure that they will back you because if your doctor's don't feel that you are unable to work you will not get it.

After your doctor(s)say that they agree that you are disabled you can either make an appointment over the phone(this is what I did and was sent the paper work)or you can go in and pick the paper work that you will need to feel out,and make an appointment to come back in or you can file over the will be givien a case worker.I was not able to go in so every thing I did was done over the phone.

Once you have a case worker and get your paper work make sure you put every thing down don't miss any thing because it can come back on you so be up front with them.

When you file out your paper work make copies because you will be asked the same questions several times over and they want the same answere every time so keep that in mind.

I had to see one of there doctor's as well but they will pay for gas food motel if you have to travel out of town.So make sure you keep all reciets,you willbe mailed paper's to fill out and you will need to send thoes reciets back into them.

All of your doctor(s)will be sent paper work to feel out as well.These are some of the more common thing's that you and your doctor(s)will be asked.
(1)the nature of your illiness like how long do they think that your illiness is expected to last and what is your limataions.

(2)They will want to know what the highet level of schooling that you have,(the reason for this is to see if there is another filed of work you can do)

(3)They will want to know if you are in pain if so what is it keeping you from doing they will want to know the thing's that you could do before coming sick and what you are able to do know or not do know.

(4)Write every thing that you do down keep a juernal each day and another thing that you need to keep up with is how many times aday you go to the bathroom and if you are able to eat.

(5)Make sure you get a copy of all of your medical doctor(s)that way if there is something in there that should not be(believe me it happens)you can get it straiten out.

(6)They will ask you if you can bath your self or can you dress your self can you drive your self back in forth to your docor(s)they will want to know what activitys you are able to do.

(6)Make sure that you keep a log of all medications that you are on and how much how many times aday and all so a log what you eat as well.(for example I was hospitalized seven time in one year)I had to tell them why how long what for what new meds I was taken.I think that you get the picture.

It is not uncommon to be turned down the first time and even the secound time but don't give up and in the event that you are turned down you have a sixty day peroid to into wich you can appealk there decition if not you will have to start over again and all of that back time you would have gotten will be lost so what ever you do make sure you appeal before that grace peroid is up.

I hope that this has helped and if you have any more questions please feel free to e-mail me you can click on my name to the left.Good luck and please let us know how it goes and how you are doing.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 136
   Posted 1/5/2008 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Curley - Do you happen to know if a person collecting SSDI after many years working full time can continue to collect and take a part time job?  Is there a maximum earnings amount, such as with SSI?  Thank you for the previous info - I am considering filing but would only get 50% of my current salary. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 23
   Posted 1/5/2008 2:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there,

It is very difficult to get disability, realistically, you will probably be turned down several times before you get approved...I was on temporary disability (6 months) I know in NJ anyway, it is very difficult to get...I know people who did not get on for 6 years. I cannot get it right now, and I have severe liver pain, ulcerative colitis is getting better, but then the severe nerve pain started...needlesstosay its been a horrible year! I have a lawyer though and with representation you should have an easier time to get approved..good luck!
Ulcerative Colitis (Pancolonic) - January 2007
Primary Scerlosing Cholangitis (Liver Disease) - July 2007
Liver Stage 3 Fibrosis Approaching Cirrhosis - July 2007
Ulcerative Colitis (Pancolonic) has CLEARED/HEALED entirely - colonoscopy - November 2007
Fibromyalgia - December 2007
Medications include: Asacol, Remicade (Began 8/15/2007), Urso, Neurontin, Prednisone, Imuran, Percocet, Lidoderm Pain Patches, Furosemide

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