What Is The Ssas Medical
The Social Security Administration considers the ability for individuals over 50 to perform old skills or learn new skills is limited compared to people under 50. For this reason, SSA application evaluators rely on grids to determine SSD eligibility for older people with COPD. Factors included in the;medical-vocational grid;include:
- Education level
- Previous employment/skills related to that employment
- Any new skills learned after leaving previous employment sector
- Claimants residual functional capacity
An example of how the SSA determines approval of COPD disability when this grid is used would be rule 201.3. This rules states that a person of advanced age who is skilled or semi-skilled with transferable skills but limited education is considered not disabled if their COPD symptoms are not severe enough to prevent them from working.
Common Respiratory Disorders That May Cause Disability
COPD is an umbrella term that includes several lung diseases, including emphysema, bronchitis, and sometimes asthma, which cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Those with COPD exhibit reduced breathing capacity due to obstructed airflow into and out of the lungs. The most common cause of COPD is smoking, and quitting smoking will usually stabilize symptoms, if not always improve them.
COPD is typically diagnosed through spirometry, a pulmonary function test that measures the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled over a certain period. Asthma can be partly diagnosed by a pre-bronchodilator and post-bronchodilator spirometry test, but a doctor must also look at the patient’s medical history and physical exam.
Many of those diagnosed with COPD also suffer from sleep apnea, a condition which not only impacts the ability to obtain meaningful rest but can also severely impair daytime functioning. Sleep apnea is diagnosed based on a combination of self-reported symptoms and objective testing, typically a sleep study. The most common therapy is a CPAP machine, which pumps a steady stream of air into a mask to keep the airways unobstructed during sleep.
Denied Disability For Copd Dont Throw In The Towel
Most claims for Disability for COPD are initially denied. You actually have a better chance of winning on appeal. The Disability attorneys at McDonald Law Firm;frequently get the government to reverse an unfavorable decision and award clients the Disability benefits theyve earned. Dont drag your feet, though. You only have 60 days to file an appeal for a denied disability claim.
Read Also: How Do You Qualify For Disability
Pulmonary Function Tests And Social Security Disability
Pulmonary function tests are noninvasive tests that show how well the lungs are working. The results from this test can help show the SSA that your COPD is severe enough that it will force you to be out of work for at least 12 months.
There are a couple of pulmonary function tests that can help show the severity of your COPD. If just one of these tests shows a severe limitation in lung function, then you may be able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. These tests include:
- Spirometry Test: A spirometer is a device with a mouthpiece hooked up to a small electronic machine. This measures your lungs ability to expel air when you breathe. Its determined using FEV value, or forced expiratory volume
- Plethysmography Test: Show’s how much air is in your lungs after you take in a deep breath. Its used to compare your lung function with known standards that show how well your lungs should be working.
These pulmonary function tests can help measure and show the affects and severity of your COPD. If you are applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with COPD, having these tests to include with your application can really help show the SSA that your COPD is so severe and that you can no longer work.
Gathering Proper Medical Evidence
You will have to undergo a spirometry test in order to prove that you have chronic asthmatic bronchitis and meet the listing requirements for asthma. This kind of test measures how much air you breathe both in and out and the rate at which you breathe. The disability requirements stipulate that you must measure how much air you are able to force out in one second. You will also need to prove to the SSA that you have been experiencing the required symptoms for 12 consecutive months, via medical records showing hospitalizations, treatments you received and testimony from your doctor in regards to your compliance towards treatment for asthma.
Recommended Reading: How To Get A Disability Rating
Qualifying For Copd When You Dont Meet The Listing
You may unable to work because of COPD, but you may not meet the criteria of the listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the medical guide used by the Social Security Administration .
Even if you cannot meet the listing criteria, you may still be approved for disability benefits using another approach. Many claimants gain approval through a medical vocational allowance.
Using this approach, you will use a residual functional capacity form. The RFC is very detailed. Disability Determination Services will complete an RFC by reviewing the details of your medical records and other evidence and supporting documentation. The RFC form is very detailed, and if your treating physician fills one out and it can be beneficial to your disability claim.
The RFC will indicate any restrictions and limitations so DDS can get a clear picture of what you can and cannot do. For example, you may not be able to walk more than 500 feet before you feel short of breath and must rest. Or, you may not be able to bend or squat because of your low oxygen intake.
You may not be able to lift more than 5 pounds, or you may not be able to reach above your head.
Be sure to undergo extensive testing that shows the nature of your medical issues, the severity of those conditions, and how they affect you. Your medical disability must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 12 months or it must be expected to result in your death.
Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease A Disability
Though COPD is typically treatable, it often does not show symptoms until significant pulmonary damage has occurred. Watch out for signs such as shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, chronic coughing, lack of energy, and a bluish tinge on the lips or fingernails.
Before you can receive disability benefits, the Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to decide if you are disabled.
Step 1. Are you earning with a gainful activity?
At the first step, SSA considers your work activity. If you are engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ,you will not be found disabled. The amount you must earn to be working at SGA changes each year. For 2018, it is $1,180 per month if you are not blind and $1,970 per month if you are blind. If you are working, and your earnings average more than the SGA limit, then you will not be found disabled. If you are not working, or your earnings are less than SGA, the process proceeds to Step 2 where your COPD and any other physical or mental conditions are considered.
Step 2. Is your COPD severe?
For SSA to determine that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities such as sitting; standing; walking; lifting; carrying; understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple instructions; making simple work-related decisions; responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and work stress; and dealing with changes in a routine work setting.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Short Term Disability Approved While Pregnant
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability For Copd
After you send in your initial application if you are applying for Social Security disability benefits, it usually takes the SSA between three to five months to get back to you with a decision whether or not your disability claim for COPD was accepted or denied.
If the SSA approves your claim, your benefits should begin within a few months. If you waited for more than five months to get approved, you will be awarded back pay on top of your monthly benefits.
Back Pay refers to Social Security Disability benefits that you would have received had your claim been approved immediately.
The SSA calculates Back Pay is related to the date you filed your disability claim and the date that they decide that your disability began, also known as the established onset date.
So, depending on the severity of your COPD, to get disability for COPD it could take anywhere from a few months to upwards of a year.
Applying For Social Security Disability For Copd
Unfortunately, many Social Security Disability applications are NOT approved in the initial claim stage. In fact two out of three initial Social Security Disability applications are denied. And, during COVID-19, with an expected huge increase in claims, the rejection rate is anticipated to go even higher!
For this reason it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Social Security Disability Attorney.
To prove that your COPD renders you unable to work, medical evidence should typically include:
- Spirometry results , which includes your FEV1.
- Imaging tests, such as chest X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.
- Arterial blood gas analysis, which show how well your lungs take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
- Lung function tests, such as a Lung Diffusion Capacity test
- Detailed statement from your physicians describing your medical history, condition, symptoms, and limitations.
- Summaries of all related surgeries, hospitalizations, and treatments.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Disability Pay In Alabama
You Can Get Disability Benefits For Respiratory Disorders If They Severely Affect Your Ability To Work
By Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author
Respiratory disorders are illnesses that affect the lungs’ ability to bring in the oxygen they need to function properly. The main function of the lungs is to provide oxygen to the body, but the lungs also remove carbon dioxide, help regulate body temperature, maintain the pH balance in the body, and make hormones and other chemicals needed to sustain a healthy body. Respiratory disorders caused by lifestyle, genetics, and environmental toxins can interrupt these lung functions, leading to a person’s inability to work.
Lung diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sarcoidosis, cystic fibrosis, chronic lung infections, and lung cancer. Although each illness has its own specific symptoms and prognosis, the common result is the inability of the patient to breath effectively.
If You Have Asthma And It Has Impacted Your Ability To Hold A Full
Because of Social Securitys strict requirements, filing for disability benefits under an asthma diagnosis may be too complex to go it alone. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help evaluate your case and guide you through the process, increasing your chances for a successful claim.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
Also Check: How Long Does Ssa Disability Last
What Are Lung Function Tests
The most important information the SSA needs when evaluating your claim for disability based on your lung disease are the results of x-rays, physical exams, and spirometry tests that show the extent of your lung disease. Without this information, the SSA will likely not accept the results of any other tests performed to prove that your respiratory disorder is disabling.
The SSA has specific requirements for the medical tests used to evaluate your respiratory disorder. One lung function test is a spirometry test, which measures your “forced expiratory volume,” or the amount of air you can breathe out. Although you may have undergone a spirometry test to evaluate your lung capacity, the SSA will likely send you to a doctor they have hired to re-administer the test. This is because the standards set by the SSA are high when considering the validity of spirometry exams. Also, the SSA will not consider outcomes of arterial blood gas tests or spirometry tests that were performed while you were acutely ill with diseases like pneumonia.
It is important that you put forth your best effort when undergoing a spirometry test, because the SSA doctor giving you the test will make a notation if he or she believes you have not. If the SSA orders its own spirometry test, it will take longer to decide your claim.
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits For Copd
I am currently working on a New Orleans social security disability application for a client with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . I thought it would be good to discuss how a disability claim for COPD is evaluated by SSA under the listings.
COPD is a listing level disease.; It is a Respiratory Impairment.; It is listed at Listing 3.02.; This means that if your medical records establish the requirements set forth in the listing then your disability application should be approved at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. This is important because if your COPD meets the requirements in the listing, then SSA does not have to evaluate whether or not your COPD prevents you from performing past relevant work or work generally available in the national economy.
Don’t Miss: How To Appeal A Va Disability Claim
I Have Been Diagnosed With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Can I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits Disability Insurance Benefits Or Supplemental Security Income Benefits
Receiving a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is just the start of a possible disability claim.; The main focus in a Social Security disability claim is usually on the symptoms you experience from COPD and how those symptoms affect your ability to engage in physical and mental work-related activities full-time that is, eight hours per day, five days per week.
The term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease refers to any of the chronic diseases involving an obstructed airflow to or from the lungs. The obstruction may be due to the inflammation of pulmonary tubes or of the air sacs in the lungs, caused by factors like cigarette smoke, dust, and chemical fumes.
The most common examples of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases may be life-threatening in certain cases and may also lead to complications such as lung cancer.
Getting Disability Benefits For Copd
The Social Security Administration has a disability “listing” laying out the requirements for getting automatically approved for disability for various chronic respiratory disorders, including COPD. If you meet the requirements of this listing, you automatically qualify for benefits. If your condition isn’t severe enough to meet the requirements of the official listing, you may still be able to prove that your COPD reduces your capacity to breathe and exert yourself so much that you can’t work at any type of job.
Also Check: How Much Is 20 Va Disability
How Copd Affects Your Mental Capacity For Work
COPD can take its toll on your body, both physically and mentally. The lack of oxygen can lead to extreme tiredness and fatigue. This can affect your ability to concentrate and to retain information. You may find yourself unable to focus. Also, it can cause anxiety because you become afraid of the inability to breathe, and it can be stressful because of the treatment regimen and the conditions unpredictability.
You may become more socially withdrawn, and you may find yourself unable to remember important details or focus on a task long enough to get it complete. Your condition can also lead to depression, which will affect your mental capacity immensely. When depressed, you stay tired, you are forgetful, you dont like to socialize, your communication skills arent as strong, you arent as productive, and you may find it impossible to stay focused on a task or to get any work done.
Can You Get Ssdi For Copd
A question I’m often asked is whether a person can get SSDI or SSI benefits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease . COPD is also called chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The answer to the question is this – if your COPD is severe enough, you can qualify for SSDI or SSI.
COPD is a listing level disease, which means the SSA has laid out the criteria for it to be automatically considered a disability. This is important because if your COPD meets the requirements in the listing, then the SSA does not have to evaluate whether or not your COPD restrict your functional capacity to such a degree that you qualify for disability benefits.
To see if you meet the listing criteria for COPD, read our article on the chronic pulmonary insufficiency listing. The value measured is called the forced expiratory volume at one second and is the amount of air you can exhale in one second. If you are close to meeting, or do in fact meet, the required FEV1, you are in pretty bad shape health wise. The required values SSA uses for the FEV1 analysis are considered low because SSA is erring on the side of caution .
For more information, see our article on COPD.