Doubtfully Applying for Disability Benefits
After years of contemplating this decision, I finally broke down and decided to give a try at applying for disability. Even though this is something that could really help me long-term, I’m still not really sure how to feel about it. I’m a 32-year-old man with a debilitating condition that I am still sometimes in disbelief of what it has put me through thus far. After nine years of suffering, I sometimes still have a hard time accepting that I have limitations that make it hard for me to properly provide for my family and sustain a manageable income. To be completely transparent, I am struggling financially because I can no longer work full-time with how severe my condition is and how often it disrupts my productivity. I also recently had a newborn son, and with the money I am currently making by working from home, it’s just not sufficient enough to supplement my wife’s half of the income. Therefore, I feel I need supplemental disability so that I can continue to do my best to provide for my family. (By the way, I’m not asking for pity, just understanding. I also hope this article can shed some light to others with IBS thinking of applying for disability)
Getting disability benefits with IBS is not easy
Unfortunately, applying for disability with an invisible illness is extremely difficult. For one, you have to prove that your illness has kept you from working a regular job. However, in order to be eligible for social security benefits, you need to have a work history long enough to pay into your social security fund. To me, this seems very unethical and impractical. Before I became self-employed, I had gone through several different jobs over the years because I was unable to maintain most of them due to my IBS. I’m not joking, my resume is about three pages long listing job after job that lasted around three to six months at a time. At each job, I would either be fired, forced to resign, or I’d become so ill that I’d have to go on medical leave (short-term disability). I always told myself that I wouldn’t give up on trying to find my way in the work field, despite the struggles I faced with my illness. However, over time, I came to the conclusion that most jobs (especially labor-intensive ones) are just not conducive to my health. Not every workplace can provide proper accommodations for someone like me with my illness. Also, many full-time, office jobs just bring about a lot of stress and anxiety, which exasperates my symptoms to the point where I find myself constantly in and out of the restroom. I share this example to show that it’s not easy for people with chronic illnesses to work long enough to become eligible for social security benefits. So how can we possibly get the help that we so desperately need?
Must be on medication and under care to get disability benefits
Another reason why I am doubtful about my ability to gain supplemental income is due to the fact that I’m currently not on medication. I recently spoke with a disability lawyer, and he told me that it would help my case if I’d continued seeking medical attention and have been on (and am currently on) medication for an extended period. If you’ve read my previous articles, you’d know that I’ve been to several doctors and tried several medications, all of which didn’t help or made my symptoms worse, so I stopped taking them. Even with my extensive medical history, since it’s been years since I last took prescribed medication, it will hurt my chances of being approved for disability.
There is still hope
With all of that being said, I do highly doubt that I will get disability benefits because the likelihood hasn’t been in favor of those with IBS. It has happened in some rare cases, so there is a sliver of hope for me and others that truly need financial assistance. However, the process is going to take some time. The first step for me is going to see a doctor and getting back on medication, again, which I’m not looking forward to. If by some miracle I do get disability down the line, then I will use this chance to better my circumstances by learning new skills that can essentially help me find conducive job opportunities in the future that I can do from home. The plan is to build my career from the ground up so that I eventually no longer have to depend on supplemental security income. Until I can create or find a job that can help sustain my living expenses, then I feel I have to suck up my pride and get all the help I can get, even if that means applying for disability.
I will keep you all updated on my journey of trying to achieve disability benefits and let you guys know how far I get. Thank you for reading and sending positive vibes to all who need it!
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