Social Security Disability Claims in Asthma and Other Respiratory Diseases
It’s hard to open a newspaper these days without reading about the increasing prevalence of asthma. There are many theories about the reason, but for Social Security disability claims in asthma and other respiratory diseases, we are only concerned about the effects, not the causes.
Social Security defines a person as disabled under the asthma listing when the disease triggers attacks lasting more than one day, occurring at least six times a year, and requiring “intensive treatment” and follow up medical care.
Asthma is now called “Reactive Airway Disease” or RAD to distinguish it from the more chronic diseases. It is seen as a temporary inflammation of the bronchial lining. It can also cause chronic pulmonary insufficiencies such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or Chronic Restrictive Pulmonary disease. These more chronic diseases are measured by tests called the FEV1 or FEV (forced expiratory volume). The qualification level for disability is dependent on age and weight. The tests measure how deeply you can breathe or blow, and the results of these tests help determine eligibility, along with information about restrictions of activities of daily living.
The legal standard for disability claims in asthma and other respiratory diseases is misleading and bears some investigation. Many patients who receive regular insured medical care may receive breathing treatments that qualify as “intensive treatment” in their doctors’ offices. Medical records are important to establish your disability claim.
Others may be able to administer such treatments at home. Emergency room treatment and hospitalization would be a rare occurrence for such a person, while it might be frequent for an underinsured person. Detailed questioning is necessary to determine the exact severity of the asthma and the number of treatments which might qualify as “intensive” under this regulation.
For some, a breathing treatment is followed by hours of sleeping. If this occurs with any frequency, it clearly precludes full time work.
Although your condition may not meet the requirements of the Listing of Impairments, your asthma may prevent you from doing your past work and may significantly limit other jobs which may be available. When combined with your age, education and work skills, your asthma may, in combination with other factors, allow you to qualify for disability benefits.
AAAAI – American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology – Provides a ton of information about allergies and asthma, including pollen counts!
American Lung Association – Their site has an informative section on Asthma that has useful tips on creating asthma-friendly environments
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Listing for respiratory systems