A respiratory disorder, if severe enough, might mean you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits that help you receive the health care and financial support you need while you cope with your current medical condition. According to Social Security Administration (SSA) guidelines, the following medical conditions might be considered a disability, according to their degree of impairment:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Lung transplant
- Respiratory failure
- Chronic respiratory disorders
- Chronic pulmonary hypertension
The evidence you submit with your application must substantiate the degree to which your current medical condition impacts your health and keeps you from working.
Knowing How the Severity of Your Respiratory Disorder Is Defined
To determine the severity of your respiratory ailment, SSD administrators will evaluate:
- Respiratory issues that make breathing difficult
- Cancers that negatively impact your respiratory system
- Spirometry tests that measure lung capacity and airflow
- DLCO tests that evaluate your lung’s cell membranes
- ABG tests that measure hydrogen ion concentration
- Pulse oximetry tests of your blood’s oxygen saturation
Additional evaluations might be required if you suffer from asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, chronic pulmonary hypertension, or are the recipient of a lung transplant.
Symptoms of Respiratory Distress
When you apply for disability benefits, you may undergo a thorough analysis and evaluation of your symptoms. The warning signs and symptoms of respiratory distress include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Chronic coughing
- Persistent wheezing
- Phlegm production
- Coughs that produce blood
- Rapid breathing
Merck Manual research on lung, respiratory, and pulmonary disorders cites the symptoms above, as well as stridor and cyanosis, which result in a gasping sound while breathing and blue-tinged skin, respectively.
Documents and Medical Evidence That Support Your Application
SSD administrators may ask you to provide a wealth of paperwork and documents to prove the severity of your medical condition. Medical evidence may include:
- Complete medical history
- Thorough physical exam results
- Pulmonary function test results
- Detailed treatment plan
- Prescription medication list
The imaging exams you may be required to submit include X-rays and CT scans. You may also be asked for laboratory test results that pertain to your specific diagnosis and for evidence that you rely on supplemental oxygen. Be prepared to compile medical evidence from a variety of sources as part of the application process.
Know Which Program You Should Apply to for Benefits
To meet the needs of disabled adults, SSA officials offer two disability programs. Prior to submitting your application, you may need to learn more about the differences between these two programs and understand more about which program you may be eligible for. Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits programs include the following:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) gives medical and financial benefits to disabled workers who have a long enough and recent enough work history and paid Social Security taxes while they were working.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives the same benefits to disabled adults who can provide proof of their financial needs, limited income, and limited resources.
Though each program is different and awards benefits to disabled individuals based on differing circumstances, the required medical evidence is largely the same. A disability lawyer may be able to help you define which program is right for you.
A Disability Lawyer Can Help You Apply for Benefits
Challenging financial circumstances may make it more stressful and difficult to cope with an adverse health condition. If you were diagnosed with a respiratory condition that compromises your health and makes maintaining a job impossible, a disability lawyer might be able to help you navigate the SSD application process by:
- Helping you determine the right programs to apply for
- Ensuring your application is complete when submitted
- Submitting personal and medical evidence that supports your application
A denial of benefits does not have to be the final answer. Your lawyer can help you understand your options if the SSA denies your application. They then can file an appeal and represent you at any required SSD hearings.
Apply for the SSD Benefits You May Be Entitled to Receive
If a respiratory disorder makes everyday activities and job performance impossible, you may be entitled to SSD benefits. You do not have to pursue SSD benefits on your own. Our client support team may be able to help you submit a completed application and fight for the medical and financial benefits for which you may qualify.
Contact a team member at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC at (828) 286-3866 to find out how you may prove the severity of your respiratory disorder and establish your right to benefits today.