Can I Get Disability Benefits for Prostate Problems?

Recurring and severe prostate problems can make it difficult to sustain a full-time job.

By , Contributing Author

There are several problems that can arise in the prostate, a walnut-shaped gland in men that surrounds the urethra, including prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer. Each condition has different side effects an affects one's ability to function in different ways.

Types of Prostate Problems


Prostatitis is the swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland and is most often caused by a bacterial infection. The condition is painful and can include the following symptoms:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  • Frequent and/or urgent need to urinate
  • Pain in the abdomen, groin, lower back, penis, or testicles, and
  • Flu-like symptoms.

Complications that can arise from prostatitis include:

  • Bacterial infections in the blood
  • Abscess in the prostate, and
  • Reproductive difficulties, including infertility.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the enlargement of the prostate and becomes increasingly more common as men age. With BPH, the prostate enlarges inward, squeezing the urethra and causing problems with urination. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Difficulty starting or stopping urination or straining during urination
  • Stopping and starting during urination or weak urination
  • Frequent and/or urgent need to urinate
  • Urinary tract infections, and
  • Reduced kidney function.

BPH generally gets gradually worse over time. Complications that can arise include:

  • Acute urinary retention (sudden, painful inability to urinate)
  • Bladder damage, and
  • Kidney damage, including obstruction of the kidneys.

Untreated BPH can lead to bladder, urinary tract, or kidney problems, which can cause serious health threats if they occur.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Individuals who are disabled and unable to work may apply for disability benefits through Social Security, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to qualify for such benefits, an individual must meet the requirements of a listing from the Social Security "blue book" or show that they are unable to work.

Meeting a Disability Listing

To "meet a listing," you must prove that you have all of the elements noted in a particular impairment listing in the Social Security blue book, which provides a list of ailments that automatically qualify you for disability benefits.

For those with prostatatitis or BPH, there are no listings that can be met. If the condition causes permanent damage, such as to the kidneys, it is possible that you could meet a listing for the damaged body part, such as the listing for renal function.

Showing Your Inability to Work

If you don't meet a listing for your prostate problems but are unable to work, you may qualify for benefits if Social Security believes that your limitations prevent you from being able to work a full-time job. Social Security uses a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form to assess your impairments so the agency can determine if you can work.

Pain and fatigue from treatments or sleep disturbances are the two most common effects of prostate problems. The two symptoms can decrease your abilities in many areas, including:

  • performing physical work, such as pulling, pushing, lifting, or carrying objects
  • staying in one position (like sitting or standing) for long periods of time
  • concentrating on tasks
  • completing tasks given in a timely manner
  • getting along with co-workers, and
  • managing the different demands and stresses at work.

If your prostate problems are frequent or long lasting or are brought on by stress, you should include this information in your record, as it can affect your ability to do work. Social Security will look at all of your limitations together when determining if you are able to do work. For more information, see our series of articles on how Social Security assesses your limitations.

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