Work, School and Disability Benefits and IBS in the USA

Originally written in 2010 by Mike V., a person with IBS and other disabilities in the USA especially for IBS Impact. Revised periodically in 2015-2019 by Nina Pan to replace outdated links.


It is not uncommon for people, when changes in their bodies happen, to hesitate to think of these changes as disabling conditions. In other words, they might not define themselves as a “disabled person.” Even so, a person doesn’t have to have that kind of label and yet still have a disability.

If this makes you nervous when looking for a job, the law is on your side. If you think that IBS might interfere sometimes with doing a job, your potential employer can do things to accommodate you. If you think your IBS might prevent you from being hired in the first place, again there are proper ways you should be treated and rules about what you don’t have to be asked about and you don’t have to be required to disclose before you are offered a job.

Dr. Barbara Bradley Bolen has written an informative article for [Now] explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from discrimination when looking for a job, or what you can do if you believe that you have been discriminated against because of a condition that you have that is beyond your control.

If you believe that you may need some accommodations but are not sure what they could be and need advice, the US Department of Labor set up a website 20 years ago, the Job Accommodation Network. Explore their website to see if they have any ideas that would help you.

If you have been to numerous job interviews, and you are not sure if you were treated properly or if you may have been asked inappropriate questions, there is plenty of information available on the website of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They can probably tell you if you have a reason to file a complaint or take legal action.

If you are still attending school (or are a parent of somebody who is), you should know which policies a school may have that are reasonable and acceptable and which ones are not reasonable and acceptable for a person with a disability. If you need to have accommodations and assistance, you can work with school officials to develop a written plan for meeting your personal needs. From our blog:

Here is another article by Dr. Bolen about work.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is our civil rights law, protecting the rights of every person with any type of disability. It pertains not just to employment, but also state and local government programs and services, any privately owned business that is open to the public, transportation and communication. From our blog:

If your ability to work is limited by your IBS, and if you believe you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, here is information about that.

Last update to this page: October 2019; all links verified December 2023