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Is Crohns Disease Classed As A Disability?

Is Crohns Disease Classed As A Disability?

Is Crohns Disease Classed As A Disability?

It’s a question that is asked a lot by people with IBD (which is anyone suffering from Crohns Disease or Ulcerative Colitis), is Crohns Disease classed as a disability.

Posted By Peter Buckley 18th March 2013 updated 16th November 2013

Is Crohns Disease Classed as a Disability

Is Crohns Disease Classed as a Disability?

I am only going to be covering information that concerns people who live in the UK.

TopIs Crohns Disease Classed As A Disability?

The DWP look at Crohns Disease from a care and mobility view-point, to qualify for disability living allowance or PIP as it is going to be called from 2013.

People in remission, people with mild disease and those whose exacerbations respond quickly to medication are unlikely to have any long-term functional restrictions affecting their ability to walk or provide self-care. (highly unlikely you will get awarded PIP)

Some people with disease of moderate severity may be restricted in their ability to stand, bend/kneel and walk around due to abdominal pain and the effects of complications such as fistulas. These individuals are likely to be taking more potent drugs, have frequent exacerbations of abdominal pain and diarrhoea and be attending hospital regularly. Some may need help with dressings and treatments from nurses. They may be restricted in their ability to self-care, including preparation of meals if symptoms last for some months or fail to respond to standard drug regimes. It is unlikely however that walking would be severely restricted since lower limb function is normal. Anxiety and concern about diarrhoea and needing to locate a toilet when out are not considered to be an indication that guidance or supervision are necessary. (if you are in this portion of patients, then we suggest you pursue your claim)

People with the most severe disease are constitutionally unwell, have low body weight, evidence of malnutrition, decreased muscle bulk and persistent pain. These individuals have progressive disease with complications that have failed to respond to both medical treatments and surgery. They are likely to need help with self-care and some will have considerable restriction in walking.(if you are in this portion of patents, the we suggest you pursue your claim, if you don’t get awarded, then there is something seriously wrong with the system.)  

When Crohn’s Disease is classed as a disability

  • Mobility Problems due to abdominal pain
  • Unable to self-care
  • Complications, fistulas, incontinence, low body weight, malnutrition, blockages and bowel abscesses (to name a few)
  • Depression
  • Unresponsive to drug treatments and surgery

DWP Website

TopMy Advice

The DLA forms can be a challenge to complete when you are not feeling well, so I suggest you get some help from a family member or friend. There are some very handy guidelines provided by Crohn’s & Colitis UK

New Guide to claiming PIP by Crohn’s & Colitis Here –

My own advice for filling in the forms, is base your application on your worst day and be consistent, some of the questions are repeated but worded differently, so watch out for those questions.

If your first claim is rejected, always appeal the first decision.

TopMore Information


A guide to Employment and Support Allowance – The Work Capability Assessment – Click Here


  1. Nicola03-11-14

    I’d like to say that, having recently won my year-long battle with the DWP over my eligibility for ESA (I am now in the support group), I also applied for PIP – but only after a very steep learning curve via my ESA experience that damn near killed me.

    For my PIP application I used the information available on this site. It was invaluable. After 31 years with UC I still had something new to learn – for example, I would never have considered the mental issues associated with having such a (in my case) debilitating illness. I can’t recommend the Help Sheets on PIP enough.

    I took my completed application form to a disability advice centre, and an adviser looked over it and was extremely impressed by the quality of the application. The information on this website had allowed me to cover every base. In fact, the only thing the adviser changed was to insist that I put down that a home visit was necessary – which I got.

    Unfortunately, your success at getting benefits at the moment
    depends entirely on how well you complete the forms and dodge the loaded questions. I cannot stress enough how important it is to use the information on this site and get some professional advice to supplement it (if you can).

    I also cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have your assessment (for any benefit) recorded, and also to record it covertly, yourself; you have the right to do this, and believe me, you WILL need to have that information if your claim is denied.

    As with most things in life, knowledge and preparation save a lot of distress and heartache further down the line.

    Please use the information on this website – it really is invaluable.

    • Peter Buckley03-11-14

      I am so glad you found the information helpful, I think the mental anguish that IBD brings, we as suffers just deal with and do not talk about it. The mental side so often overlooked.
      If you have an IBD nurse, I would mention the mental effects that UC has on you and ask if there is any additional support that they can provide for you.

  2. Cat Jane03-21-14

    Not sure if this is the right forum but I hope you can help. I have worked for the NHS for 22 years despite having Crohn’s, 2 resections 25 years ago, I have had the odd flare up but am presently having quite a bad flare up with the possibility of more surgery and change of medications. I would like to take early ill health retirement from the NHS (I am 53) but I can’t seem to find much in the way of advice, even from HR, about whether or not I would qualify for one of the tiers as on a good day I may be able to manage to do some work which would be good for me mentally. It seems to be such a minefield as whilst I await this decision i have been told my employment would be terminated. Hope you can help or point me in the right direction for advice. Many thanks CJ

  3. Peter Buckley03-22-14

    Cat, I have done quite a bit of research on the question that you asked and I have drawn the same conclusion as you have done.
    The best advice that I can give to you, if you follow the path of early retirement due to ill health. Is to get your union involved in every step to early retirement.
    From all the information I have found on-line it looks like the NHS can terminate your employment before you claim is even adjudicated which seams grossly unfair.
    You will have to make sure you document everything and make sure that you make it crystal clear about the metal anguish that Crohn’s Disease causes you and is a serve enough for you not be able to carry on your duties as you have done in the past.
    As you get older Crohn’s Disease becomes even more difficult to deal with on all levels.

    (Just a bit more information –

    I wish you well and keep in touch on how things go.

  4. teegs10-23-14

    Hi my girl has been turned down for dla as she has crohns disease and they say because she can walk and she 13 and can clean up after her self but they don’t care that she in pain some days

  5. Peter Buckley11-06-14

    Hi Teegs, I am sorry to hear that you have not been successful in your DLA claim. The DLA criteria is very difficult for someone with Crohn’s or UC to get a successful claim through the system. What most people forget to do is focus on the mental effects of these conditions.
    Inflammatory bowel disease fluctuates in symptoms from one patient to the next you have to cover all the effects that IBD has on your daughter. I would appeal as in many cases they will refuse the first application.

  6. Nicola11-07-14

    The key to getting the benefits you need is not how ill or disabled you are, it’s how you present your symptoms. It’s a cruel game we have to play but the DWP has decided this is the way it must be.

    There are a number of free or donation-based form filling services available with welfare lawyers and advocates, and this is a very important starting point for the process – get the form right and you’re half way there.

    Next is a supportive medical professional who will write your a letter/report of support. There is a site which has templates for people to use to get their GPs, Specialists, etc., to provide evidence in the format required by the DWP (so it can’t be misrepresented).

    You may wish to have a look at:

    There is a PIP pathway thread on:

    There’s all sorts of template letters and assessment preparation information on here.

    Please feel free to reproduce any of the work on that thread on this site if you wish. It is there for people to use.

  7. julie barton nd hnd rgn bn11-17-14

    I am a sufferer of crohns disease. After having to give up my dream job, a degree nurse because of crohns disease, I have never been lucky in qualifying for DLAl, despite needing euipment etc.,which I cannot afford on ESA alone.
    I came across an e-petition asking for crohns disease to be classed as a disability. There are less than 4,000 signatures to date, and I am sure you know aminimum of 100,000 are needed for the petition to be looked at, brought up in the house of commons.
    I think l, if all your members were to be informed, im sure 100% would sign the e-petition. Hopefully this would make life slightly more bearable with crohns.
    At the moment, the e-petition is located on page 5.
    I hope you can contact your members. I do not know when the petition closes.
    Many thanks
    Ms j barton nd hnd rgn bn

  8. Nicky11-25-14

    Hi can anyone give me some advice I was on high rate of everything for mental health I added my crohns which is severe as I’m the worst patient in Scotland because my body rejects all treatment for it dla pulled me from top rate down to Middle should I pursue this matter further I’m in hospital every 4 weeks with flare up had 7 ops for my illness I just feel this isn’t right

  9. Nicola11-27-14

    Nicky, I would contest it. Benefit assessments aren’t done on how ill you are but how well you can fill in a form and how well you medical evidence fits with the descriptors.

    I have high rate PIP for both mobility and car and I have severe UC.

    Find a disability advice organisation (maybe try the NACC) and get help with a reconsideration. Don’t try it yourself.

  10. craig justice12-22-14

    I have managed to get ela for my disease but took some time i am on the lowest rate possable but it is living traverling money and help a lot. It would seem the doc where i am from are extreamly good they dont work on the 5 mins per person slots it takes as long as it takes with them and you can tell from how they are they are trying to help where possable for the to i really can not fult them massive thank you st leonards on sea surgery (carasbrooke). I found a easy way to get the medic teem on your side when going for interview is to say when they ask how your illness impacks on your life just say noing you can not get to a loo in time in middle of a town center to mess your self how would you feel then just look at them. I found medic examaner will sihn you off no more questions done. Yes i will say it is a bit inbassasimg admitting this but they dont no how it is or how you r so tell them leave nothing out imbarreses them for asking then you will get your need

  11. Robert Lawton01-06-15

    had my benefits stopped at the end of 2014 that i have been on since i was 17 when i had my first operation for crohns disease , on the test before that i was denied the benefits and had to pass a tribunal test that i passed and won my benefits back.

    in 2014 i had 2 flare ups admitted to hospital prepped me ready for surgery on one occasion , i was diagnosed with malnutrition and low body weight gave me medications to help me get better at the same time i had to fill in a form and then attend a interview wuich they stopped my benefits.

    i told the nurse who conducted the interview i loose control of my bowels and that its mostly in my sleep and they changed my words to ‘ suffers from slight leakage occasionaly and does not wear pads ‘ the reason i dont wear pads is because my bedroom is right next to the toilet so i can get there fast and i dont ever go out anywhere if i do i wont eat anything before hand so i wont suffer attack , i have depression and anxiety as i dont socialise with real people.

    with all these things in account i scored 0 points for my illness and mental health , i disagreed with the deccision made and they gave me 9 points for my mental health and still 0 points for my crohns disease , need 15 points to pass , im not sure if i should disagree with the decission again and go back to a tribunal i feel completly worn out by trying to prove my problems exist.

    I still find it very unfair that they changed what i said at the interview and that my GP said there is no reasons i should have any complications and that i had not seen him since 2012 , even tho i was admitted to hospital twice with flare ups and i actually seen that same doctor to recieve the results of some of my hospital tests.

    Should i disagree again and take it to tribunal for a 2nd time ? i feel i should be on ESA not job seekers , especially after being on those benefits since i was 17 i feel totally lost and forced into doing job seekers or have no income whatsoever.

    Thnx for your time , RL

    • Peter Buckley01-07-15

      Hi Robert, I understand how hard it is to fight for your right for benefits. You have to focus on how your Crohn’s Disease effects your everyday life such as:

      Social isolation
      Problems with any medication (certain medications can cause additional side effects)
      Any other related health conditions

      I have met many doctors and the best ones always record what is being said as you are being interviewed, since doctors will see many patients before they put pen to paper. I would suggest that you record any future interviews on a mobile phone or voice recorder. I must point out that this would be purely to ensure that there would be no confusion on what is being discussed for future reference. (You must get the health professionals consent)

      I would also keep a daily symptom log and add any hospital or doctors appointments on this log as well, this can also be used for visits to your doctors or IBD nurse service. I never go to my doctors with any issues relating to my Crohn’s Disease. This is why we have IBD service through your local hospital. I would make sure that you point this out on any forms you fill out for the DWP.

      It’s hard but you must never give up fighting for your rights if your condition truly effects your ability to do paid work.

      If you need any further help please just let me know.

  12. teegs01-09-15

    After been turned down for my girls dla I have as so busy working and running about I left it to late to apply my girls just had a op on the bowl because of the crohns so am sending for a new pack and get someone to help me fill it out this time

  13. Sam02-28-15

    Hi I needed help regarding my pip for chrones disease and colitis I’ve had it since 2006 no medicine is helping I app,iced for pip and got enhanced for care and standard For mobility my form was done explaining everything i want to send in for reconsideration I’m only 4 points away from enhanced the asseser gave me no points on can’t follow an unfamiliar route points were missed out what shall I do ? Please advise

  14. Peter Buckley03-01-15

    Sam, you will find all the help links and pdf’s we have on pip on this post.
    Please go through the links and find what you need.

    We provide the information it is up to you to follow the guidelines.

    We are not experts on pip just patients like you. If you need expert advice then we would suggest you contact crohn’s and colitis uk.

    All the best

  15. Sandra09-11-15

    Hi my husband has been suffering for 4 years now and he has just been to St marks hospital in Harrow to be told they are looking at Crohn’s disease he has got to have another mri and has got to have an internal biopsy done .if it does turn out to be Crohn’s disease we wouldn’t know what benefits etc he would be entitled too or where to start so any help would be much appreciated regards Sandra

  16. Lee Williams09-28-15

    I’ve had crohn’s for going on 14 yrs now, I’ve had 2 major ops the second only in January were I had to have a stoma bag fitted because non of the medication was working. I’m actually in the hospital now having a very bad flare up, I have severe crohn’s and Dailey life is hard living with this desease. I’ve been told by a few people yo claim dva but I’m not sure whether I’d be able too as I’ve always worked around my illness. My question is would i be able to claim pip as I work?
    Many thanx

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