Social Security Disability for COPD

Facts About Social Security Disability For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The SSA (Social Security Administration) documents the requirements for qualifying for disability for individuals suffering from various respiratory diseases, including COPD, in its disability listing. Individuals who satisfy the conditions of the listing automatically qualify for disability. You can also get disability even if you do not meet the above conditions provided that you prove that your condition is severe enough to keep you from working.


What Is COPD?

The term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease refers to a variety of respiratory conditions, among them emphysema and bronchitis. Both of these conditions usually get worse as time passes; they are therefore referred to as progressive conditions. These conditions mainly affect the level of airflow in and out of the lungs. The limited airflow and other abnormalities in lung structure are attributed to the development of inflammatory processes caused by the conditions.

These conditions lead to a variety of symptoms including coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath.

Even though cigarette smoking is recognized as the primary cause of COPD, other contributors include asthma (mainly in adults), familial emphysema, occupational dusts and air pollution.

COPD treatments include medications, pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen therapy.

Qualifying Under The Disability Listing Criteria

In order for you to qualify for disability benefits, in addition to being diagnosed with COPD, you will also be subjected to a lung function test, which includes a number of tests, administered by a physician contracted by the SSA. The test must show that airflow to your lungs is highly diminished.

Each of the above tests must satisfy the values, required to meet the standard for disability, as specified under the Social Security Administration’s listing for pulmonary insufficiency. These values, which are based on the individual’s height, age and gender, represent a serious decline in lung function.

You may also be approved for disability if your COPD leads to complications that require you to be admitted to hospital for at least 2 days, three or more times in the last year, with at least 30 days in between each stay.

Qualifying Under Reduced Capacity For Work

As stated above, you may also qualify for disability if your COPD is shown to have reduced your capacity for work, even if your test results do not meet the established disability standard. The SSA will investigate your Residual Functioning Capacity. It is important to note that for you to qualify under these circumstances you must be able to demonstrate that your COPD keeps you from getting any type of work, or any work considering your age, current level of experience and without the need for additional training.

If your COPD is keeping you from working, it is recommended that you apply for disability from the SSA. The process of applying for SSDI or SSI can be quite taxing both mentally and physically, especially if you are struggling with getting a job and supporting yourself or your family. Having an experienced professional guiding you along the way can help save you the headache involved and get you the assistance you deserve.

Need Help Getting Your Disability Claim Approved?

If you or a loved one need help getting your disability claim approved, contact a GAR Disability Advocate today for a free consultation.

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