For the past six months you’ve been having issues catching your breath. Although scary, dealing with it at home is a breeze compared to the added stress of dealing with it at work. Your coworkers seriously think you have the plague and refuse to get too close to you—for fear that they may catch it. Your boss isn’t much better as he constantly gives you the evil eye—from a safe distance—when you excuse yourself to take a few puffs of your inhaler.
After almost fainting in the ladies room, and receiving your 15th bag of cough drops from the head of Human Resources, you decided to seek a professional opinion about what was going on. Your entire family has asthma, but you thought a second opinion was warranted. It’s a good thing you did, too.
Your doctor diagnosed you with early stages of cystic fibrosis, and suggested extensive treatment and rest.
What are you going to do? Your doctor says that the symptoms will probably worsen, and he doesn’t think you should continue working, but what options do you have?
Your immediate thought was to apply for disability, but after filling out the application, you’re not even sure if you’d qualify. What respiratory diseases does the Social Security Administration accept for disability consideration? Would you qualify?
Respiratory Impairments in the SSA Disability Blue Book
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for determining whether an ailment, disorder, injury, or disease is severe enough to qualify for disability benefits under the government’s requirements. Qualification depends on several key factors, including severity, how it affects your ability to do your job, and whether or not it is included in the SSA Blue Book of recognized impairments.
The Blue Book contains a list of accepted issues that have previously been investigated and approved for disability. This allows the SSA panel to categorize applicants and omit individual—and lengthy investigations—into each and every applicant. Each category represents common inflictions having to do with specific parts of the body. One of these categories deals with common and disabling respiratory impairments.
Impairments resulting from respiratory disorders are based on symptoms, physical signs, laboratory test abnormalities, and responses to common treatments prescribed by medical professionals. Although some respiratory issues not listed can still be classified as disabling impairments, the Blue Book specifically includes the following:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Severe asthma
- Primary pulmonary hypertension
- Recurrent thromboembolic disease
- Primary or secondary pulmonary vasculitis
- Pulmonary heart disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Episodic respiratory disease
- Mycobacterial, mycotic, and other chronic persistent infections of the lungs
Catching a Break to Catch Your Breath
If you’ve been diagnosed with a respiratory disorder which has been keeping you from being able to perform work duties, you could be eligible for disability benefits. No one should be forced to work when they can’t breathe. Disability benefits can allow you to catch your breath without losing your financial independence.
Unfortunately, the process of approval can be long and confusing when you’re on your own. Thankfully, an experienced lawyer can help you through the process—even if you’ve already applied. Contact us directly to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your application.
Need more information? Feel free to download our report, The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability. Remember, it’s our job to make sure you get the benefits you deserve—and we’re good at our job.