If the symptoms of your Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are so disabling that you are unable to work, you may qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), provided you meet the necessary medical criteria.
Many claims for Social Security disability benefits are rejected not because the applicant doesn’t qualify for benefits, but simply because they fail to supply the SSA with the necessary medical evidence they need to make their decision. What evidence do you need to submit to receive Social Security disability benefits for COPD? The medical criteria for receiving benefits for COPD are listed in Section 3.02 of the SSA’s Blue Book, which describes various chronic respiratory disorders.
What is COPD?
COPD is a group of diseases that obstruct airflow in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the most common forms of COPD.
Symptoms of COPD can include:
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath);
- Chest pain;
- Sputum production;
- Hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the respiratory tract);
- Use of accessory muscles of respiration; and
- Tachypnea (rapid rate of breathing).
Treatments for COPD can include medications, inhalers, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation.
Medical Criteria Needed to Qualify for COPD Disability Benefits from the SSA
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for COPD, you must supply the Social Security Administration with medical evidence that documents and assesses the severity of your respiratory disorder. This evidence should include:
- Your medical history;
- Physical examination findings;
- The results of imaging;
- Pulmonary function tests;
- Other relevant laboratory tests; and
- Descriptions of any prescribed treatments and your response to it.
Imaging refers to imaging technologies such as X-rays and computerized tomography. Pulmonary Function Tests include:
- Spirometry – measures ventilation of the lungs;
- BG tests – measures the partial pressure of oxygen, PaO2, and carbon dioxide, PaCO2, in the arterial blood;
- DLCO tests – measures gas diffusion from the lungs into the blood; and
- Pulse oximetry – measures oxygen saturation, SpO2, of peripheral blood hemoglobin.
If the limitations caused by your COPD do not meet the listing but are severe enough to prevent you from working, you may still be eligible for benefits based on your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). The SSA will determine your RFC based on your limitations, education, and work history to determine what your work ability is. You may qualify for a medical vocational allowance provided the symptoms of your COPD prevent you from earning more than $1,260 per month.
Get Help Securing Your Social Security Disability Benefits for COPD
If your claim for disability benefits for COPD was initially rejected by the SSA, you can appeal their decision. The Social Security disability attorneys at Marc Whitehead & Associates have helped individuals all over the U.S. obtain the SSDI and SSI benefits they need, even after their claim was denied. We know exactly what medical criteria the SSA requires for a particular medical condition and can put together an appeal that fully demonstrates the extent of your disability and how it prevents you from working any type of job.
Don’t miss out on the SSI or SSDI benefits you deserve. Contact the law offices of Marc Whitehead & Associates to discuss your case.