Q Can I get Social Security disability benefits for asthma?
It depends on the severity of your asthma. Only those who suffer from frequent and severe asthma attacks that cannot be controlled with medication are eligible for disability benefits such as Social Security income (SSI) and Social Security disability (SSDI).
Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system. During an asthma attack, the airways become inflamed and cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Chest pain
If an asthma attack can be stopped by moving away from the trigger, with an inhaler, or other medication, it is not considered severe. An asthma attack is severe if it lasts for one day or longer and requires treatment in the hospital or emergency room.
To qualify for SSDI or SSI for asthma, you must experience a serious asthma attack requiring hospital treatment every two months or six times a year. You must have a record of each episode, how long it lasted, the treatment that was administered, and how well you responded to treatment. You should also have results of spirometry tests and arterial blood gas studies (ABGS) from each attack.
You may also qualify for SSI and SSDI if you have chronic bronchitis in addition to asthma (chronic asthmatic bronchitis). This should be documented in your medical records.
There is one other qualification. Your medical records must show that you are following the treatment plan ordered by your doctor. You must take all medications, including your inhaler, as directed.
If you don’t automatically qualify under the asthma listing, the Social Security Administration will consider how your asthma, combined with any other disabilities, affects your ability to work a regular job. If they determine that you are unable to work, you may be approved for disability benefits.
The Social Security disability application process is confusing. Learn more about applying for SSDI and SSI in Boston disability lawyer John Keefe’s book, Unlocking the Mystery: The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process. Or contact the Massachusetts disability benefits attorneys at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.