Disability for Interstitial Cystitis Clarified by Social Security Ruling

If you suffer from interstitial cystitis (IC), you know the recurring pain and discomfort in your bladder and pelvic region from this disease can be disabling. The Social Security Administration has issued a new ruling, SSR 15-1p, which replaces a prior ruling and clarifies how to evaluate a disability claim stemming from interstitial cystitis.

SSR 15-1p explains that interstitial cystitis can be a “medically determinable impairment” and describes how adjudicators should evaluate it. While there are no specific signs or findings that are universally accepted to establish a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis, the ruling does list some symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis. These include urinary frequency and urgency; pain of the bladder, pelvis, genitals, thighs or back; tenderness on physical examination; sexual dysfunction; and sleep problems, including chronic fatigue or tiredness. The ruling also notes that the list of signs and symptoms is not intended to be exhaustive and will likely change as new diagnostic techniques are developed.

Most useful to disability claimants and their advocates, the ruling explains: “we must consider all of the person’s impairment-related symptoms in deciding how such symptoms may affect functional capacity. For example, many people with IC have chronic pelvic pain, which can affect the ability to focus and sustain attention on the task at hand. Nocturia may disrupt sleeping patterns and lead to drowsiness and lack of mental clarity during the day. Urinary frequency can necessitate trips to the bathroom as often as every 10 to 15 minutes, day and night. Consequently, some individuals with IC essentially may confine themselves to their homes…”

This new ruling will be a valuable tool in arguing and winning a disability cases based upon interstitial cystitis.

If you have IC and need help getting disability benefits, contact the disability attorneys at Levine Benjamin.