Published on: November 27, 2017
If you have been diagnosed with asthma, you have likely experienced the harmfulness and discomfort that is associated with asthma attacks. The shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness can greatly interfere with your daily activities. In some cases, you may experience symptoms that are so severe that you need to make frequent visits to the hospital.
If your asthmatic condition prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits. In order to become eligible to receive disability benefits due to asthma, your condition needs to prevent you from engaging in any substantial gainful activity and is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.
As you wonder whether your application for benefits is likely to be approved or denied, let’s explore more about asthma disability benefits so you can be adequately prepared for the process.
Understanding the Asthmatic Condition
In the U.S., 24.6 million people suffer with asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma is classified as a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes breathing complications in patients. People who have asthma often experience constricted or narrow airways that restrict normal breathing.
Asthma can be triggered by a number of environmental factors, including allergies, pollutants, medications, smoke and chemicals. In most cases, asthma can be managed by using inhalers, nebulizers, or by taking various medications. However, frequent and chronic occurrences of asthma can significantly affect your lifestyle and ability to work.
Severe asthma attacks can last up to several days, and they can fail to respond to regular treatment such as inhalers. In fact, chronic asthma attacks can require intensive treatment such as the use of an intravenous bronchodilator, the administering of antibiotics, or the use of an inhalational bronchodilator in hospital.
Qualifying for Asthma Disability Benefits
If your asthmatic condition is extensive and recurrent, you can qualify for disability benefits in two different ways:
- qualifying through the disability listing for asthma (under the Social Security Administration)
- qualifying based on the extent to which your asthmatic condition prevents you from working and how long it is expected to last
Qualifying for Benefits Under the SSA Disability Listing
The SSA maintains a “blue book” of various medical conditions that automatically qualify you for benefits. The primary purpose of this book is to ensure that individuals who are most in need of disability assistance are able to receive it as soon as possible.
The SSA’s listing for asthma specifies that during a one-year period, you should have experienced three separate asthma-related complications that required you to be hospitalized for at least 48 hours. The admissions also must have occurred at least 30 days apart. In addition, the listing specifies that your lung function test must be lower than the required standard for your age.
If your condition meets these criteria, you can automatically qualify for asthma disability benefits when you submit your application. Your application will undergo expedited processing in order to get you assistance as soon as possible. Such frequent and chronic asthma complications normally mean that you are unable to participate in any substantial gainful activity.
Qualifying for Asthma Benefits Due to an Inability to Work
The second way in which you can qualify for disability benefits with asthma is if you can prove to the SSA that your asthmatic condition is preventing you from working. When you submit a disability application, the SSA will carry out what is called a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This is a determination of what work you are able to do despite your impairment.
The SSA will use your doctor’s recommendations (such as restrictions on lifting heavy objects, exposure to certain environments of dust/fumes, or other physical activity limitations) to determine the extent to which your asthmatic-condition prevents you from working. If your condition prevents you from doing your previous work, the SSA can either determine other work that you can do or decide that your condition prevents you from working at any other meaningful job. Such a determination can lead you to receive disability benefits.
Older citizens (about 50-55 or older) may be less likely to find other work if their asthma caused them to stop working at their previous job. As a result, they may qualify for asthma disability benefits under this criterion.
What Your Disability Application Should Include
In order to maximize your chances of receiving disability benefits for asthma, your application should contain detailed medical-records that clearly show the extent of your asthmatic condition. Make sure you include documentation of every asthma attack that required hospitalization, as well as the treatment that you were required to undergo while in the hospital. Your medical-records also should demonstrate the treatment and how it may have failed to make your situation better.
At Disability Expertts of Florida, we believe that every case should be evaluated based on its individual merits and are here to help you apply for disability benefits.