What is the difference between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)? IBS describes a set of symptoms which include abdominal pain. To be sure, it can cause, in some cases severe pain and result in disability. However, IBD is considered by the medical profession to be the far more serious disease. Generally, IBS is relatively common, occurring in one in five persons while IBD occurs only in about 1 in 200 persons.
IBD usually includes either Crohn’s disease [painful ulcers in their small and large intestines and sometimes inflammation in the rectum] or ulcerative colitis [which is a disease that results in ulcers in the rectum and large intestine]. IBD is normally diagnosed by endoscopy, biopsy, appropriate medically acceptable imaging, or operative findings. On the other hand, IBS is a “rule out” diagnoses. That means that a physician has decided that his/her patient has IBS after all other tests have ruled out other diseases.
SSA has a listing [5.06] for IBD. That means if the disabled person has IBD based upon the criteria set out by SSA, then a finding of disability will be made. Unfortunately, SSA does not have a listing for IBS. Which means that it is much more difficult, although by no means impossible, to be awarded disability for IBS.