How to Get Social Security Disability If You Have Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis Paperwork With Medications and a StethoscopeCystic fibrosis is a dangerous condition that impacts different parts of the body. People with cystic fibrosis produce thick mucus that can damage internal organs such as the lungs, pancreas, and digestive system. Thankfully, people with cystic fibrosis have a longer life expectancy and better quality of life than they did a generation ago. However, cystic fibrosis is still a disabling condition and you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can’t work.

Social Security Disability Cystic Fibrosis Listing

Section 3.04 of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments describes seven different ways a person with cystic fibrosis may qualify for disability benefits. According to this listing, you may be eligible for Social Security disability if you experience:

  • Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) less than or equal to specific values included in a chart based on your age, gender, and height.
  • Cystic fibrosis complications or exacerbations requiring three hospitalizations within a 12-month period that were at least 30 days apart.
  • Spontaneous pneumothorax, secondary to cystic fibrosis, that requires chest tube placement.
  • Respiratory failure that requires invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation with BiPAP, or both treatments, continuously for at least 48 hours or continuously for at least 72 hours if it happens postoperatively.
  • Pulmonary hemorrhage requiring vascular embolization to control bleeding.
  • Blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) measured by pulse oximetry that is less than or equal to the value in the table provided. The level must occur twice within 12 months and at least 30 days apart.
  • Two or more of the following complications within 12 months: (1) pulmonary exacerbation requiring ten consecutive days of IV antibiotics; (2) pulmonary hemorrhage requiring hospitalization; (3) weight loss requiring daily supplementary enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy for at least 90 consecutive days; (4) weight loss requiring daily supplementary parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter for at least 90 consecutive days; or (5) cystic fibrosis-related diabetes requiring daily insulin for at least 90 consecutive days.

To qualify in any of these ways, you must provide the Social Security Administration with the appropriate documentation, including one of the following:

  • A report signed by a physician that shows that you have a positive newborn screen for cystic fibrosis, a sibling with cystic fibrosis, or at least one specific cystic fibrosis phenotypic or clinical criterion. The report must also include a lab test that shows one of the following, an elevated sweat chloride concentration equal to or greater than 60 millimoles, the identification of two cystic fibrosis gene mutations, or characteristic abnormalities in ion transport across the nasal epithelium.
  • If the report described above is not signed, then an additional report from a doctor saying that you have cystic fibrosis.
  • A persuasive report from a physician showing that you have cystic fibrosis. The report must be based on appropriate and definitive lab tests.

Submit a Strong Social Security Disability Application

The majority of initial Social Security disability applications are denied. While many of these denials are later reversed on appeal, you can save yourself the time, stress, and uncertainty of a denial by filing a complete application when you first seek benefits.

You may qualify for benefits by proving you meet the requirements of Section 3.04 described above or by showing that:

  • Your condition is equal in severity to another listing in the Blue Book.
  • Your doctor has limited your activity because of cystic fibrosis and you are unable to work.
  • You are completely disabled and unable to work.

However you qualify, you will need to provide the Social Security Administration with an accurate application and compelling evidence about your disability.

Our experienced Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you. Call us or fill our contact form to have us contact you for a free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible. Let us help you deal with the bureaucracy of the Social Security Administration while you focus on your health and loved ones.

John L. Keefe
Connect with me
Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer