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Urinary incontinence and Social Security Disability Insurance

Urinary incontinence can I get SSDI?


Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the release of urine from your bladder. Whether you suffer from the occasional, minor leak or you are completely incapable of controlling your bladder flow this can be an embarrassing and disruptive condition that may affect you socially, emotionally and professionally. Recently on our disability forum we had a user ask, “Can I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if I have to go to the bathroom all of the time?”


Different types of Urinary Incontinence


According to the Mayo Clinic there are a variety of different types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence, urge incontinence, overflow incontinence, mixed incontinence, functional incontinence and total incontinence.

Each type of incontinence occurs at different times and for different reasons. For instance, stress incontinence is common in women who have experienced childbirth or men who have had their prostate removed. It occurs when the sphincter muscle in the bladder is weakened and pressure is exerted on the bladder through laughing, exercise or coughing.

Another common type of incontinence is urge incontinence or over active which is a general and constant urge to go to the bathroom. This condition can be caused by other serious conditions such as “urinary tract infections, bladder irritants, bowel problems, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, injury or nervous system damage associated with multiple sclerosis.”

What does the SSA consider a disability?


To be considered disabled you will have to prove you have a condition which is severe, will last for at least 12 continuous months and does not allow you to perform what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity. For SSDI you will also need to have worked and paid enough into the SSA system to be considered insured. The SSA does not offer any type of part-time or partial disability benefits.

Urinary Incontinence and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)


To make a disability determination the SSA will first determine if condition meets or exceeds a listing in their SSA Listing of Impairments. Urinary incontinence is not listed. Does this mean you cannot win benefits? No, but you will have to prove your condition is so severe you cannot work.

Additionally, the SSA will expect that you have exhausted all treatment options. Getting SSDI with urinary incontinence alone will be tough. Claimants who have other conditions causing urinary incontinence will have a much better chance of winning benefits. For instance, if you have Parkinson’s disease, in addition to the urinary incontinence, this could substantially lower your ability to work and you may be able to prove you are disabled.

Talking to a disability lawyer


Because the disability process can be tough and extremely long it may be a good idea to talk to a disability lawyer before you apply. They can review your condition and let you know if you have any chance of winning SSDI benefits.

Remember, to be considered disabled you will need great medical evidence proving you have a serious condition, you will need to show that you have done everything possible to alleviate the condition, and given your treatment you continue to lack the ability to work.
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