Interstitial Cystitis (IC) Receives New Social Security Ruling (SSR)
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently issued a new SSR on IC. The new ruling replaces a 2002 SSR. An SSR is a precedential decision released under the authority of the Commissioner of Social Security that addresses an SSA policy or program.
Section I of the SSR describes IC as a genitourinary disorder of the bladder and pelvic region. Some medical providers and organizations, such as the American Urological Association recognize IC by the names “painful bladder syndrome” or “bladder pain syndrome.” The SSA uses the term IC to describe all three conditions. More common in women, IC can also exist concurrently with other disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome, among others. Treatment of IC is generally palliative, and not universally effective.
Section II of the SSR addresses how IC should be adjudicated. The ruling explains that IC can be proven a medically determinable impairment (MDI) and includes an explanation of signs and findings that can help prove IC as an MDI, but notes that none of the signs or findings are universally recognized as definitive proof. Furthermore, the SSR notes than only an MD or DO (licensed physicians) can serve as acceptable medical sources in establishing IC as an MDI.
Section III of the ruling explains the proper documentation of IC, which can be difficult, because symptoms of IC (including, but not limited to: urinary frequency and urgency, bladder pain, sexual dysfunction, and chronic fatigue) can vary in intensity over time. Clinical records from acceptable medical sources, as well as evidence from non-medical, third party sources (family, friends, employers, and relevant SSA staff, for example) are important types of documentation that can help a claimant with IC.
The complete SSR on IC is available on the SSA’s website.