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Monday, September 17, 2018

SSD and COPD

Can I receive SSD benefits if I suffer from COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is now considered the third leading cause of death among adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Over 11 million people in the nation have been diagnosed with COPD, and many more likely suffer from the disease but are yet to be diagnosed. Women tend to experience more severe forms of COPD, and all COPD sufferers could potentially experience difficulty completing work tasks, as well as daily living activities. At times, COPD sufferers may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits to help them cover cost of living expenses.

COPD and the Listing of Impairments

The Social Security Administration has a listing of impairments that contains an overview of the most common medical conditions that can be considered severe enough to prevent an individual from working.  COPD is included in the listing of impairments, which makes applying for benefits easier for applicants. If you meet the criteria for severe COPD in the listing, then the SSA will not need to evaluate whether your functional capacity is restricted to a degree that would qualify you for benefits.

To receive SSD benefits based on a COPD diagnosis, you will need to undergo a lung function test through a consulting doctor for the SSA. The results of the lung function test will be critical to your eligibility for benefits.  The lung function test will include spirometry testing showing your FEV1 value and FVC level, a DLCO test, oxygen saturation test, and an ABG test.  The SSA listing includes several tables based on the applicant’s age and height.  Your various lung function tests will be compared to the values on the table and if your levels fall below those named, you will qualify for benefits.  

Alternatively, those who do not meet lung function minimums could still qualify for benefits if they have been hospitalized at least three times in the past year due to exacerbations lasting at least 48 hours and occurring 30 days or more apart.  Additionally, you could qualify for benefits by showing that your reduced breathing capacity has rendered you unable to work. This will require documentation by your doctor and thorough medical documentation.

COPD is a serious condition that can greatly impede one’s ability to earn an income.  Contact a SSD attorney for assistance with filing a claim or appealing the denial of your action.


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