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Those with Asthma Rarely Qualify for SSDI Benefits


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4/11/2013
John L. Keefe
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Scientists believe that changes in our environment are responsible for a worldwide increase in asthma cases. In 2001, one out of every 14 American adults had asthma. In 2009, the number was one out of every 12. That number is growing. 

Most people can control their asthma by avoiding environmental triggers such as dust and cigarette smoke and using medication. They can live normal lives: they raise families, hold jobs, and even participate in strenuous sports. But some people experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, tightening of the chest, and difficulty breathing even with treatment.   

Asthma sufferers who experience frequent, sudden, and severe asthma attacks despite treatment can find it hard to live life as usual.  It is hard to work when any exertion, or even talking, can bring on an unstoppable coughing spell. It’s hard to interact with other employees when you can’t breathe well enough to speak. Because severe asthma can affect one’s ability to earn a living, Social Security benefits are granted in cases of severe asthma.

Section 3.03 of the Social Security Disability Insurance blue book allows benefits for asthma sufferers who experience either of the following:

  • Chronic asthmatic bronchitis 
  • Asthma attacks that are severe and frequent despite following prescribed treatments
    These attacks must occur at least one time every two months or a minimum of six times a year and be severe enough to require treatment in the emergency room or hospital. An in-hospital asthma attack that lasts longer than 24 hours counts as two attacks.

But, not every case of severe asthma fits these criteria. The Social Security Administration may still consider you eligible for benefits if the SSA decides your condition makes you unable to handle basic work functions. For those under age 50, this means being unable to lift up to 10 pounds, walk, or stand for up to two hours, or sit for six hours during an eight-hour work day.

If you are considering applying for SSDI in Massachusetts, request a free copy of Boston SSDI attorney John Keefe’s book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.  To schedule an appointment with a Massachusetts disability benefits lawyer, call Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-684.



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John L. Keefe
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