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May respiratory illnesses qualify for disability benefits?

Debilitating respiratory illnesses that prevent you from working may qualify you to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Social Security Administration’s website notes that qualifying respiratory illnesses may include emphysema, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis.

If your symptoms include coughing and shortness of breath, a doctor’s diagnosis may confirm a disabling respiratory impairment. If your symptoms become too severe for you to work, you may need financial help. Individuals with conditions that will persist for at least one year or lead to death may apply for SSDI.

How does the SSA evaluate a medical condition?

When submitting your application, you may include documentation of your medical condition. The SSA may review your medical history along with records of physical exams performed by your pulmonary doctor. You may also need to provide the results of laboratory tests and imaging scans of your lungs or chest.

If your doctor prescribed medication, the SSA may request to review your prescriptions. You may include descriptions of your treatment and how your condition responded to the medicine. Records of your receiving supplemental oxygen or other therapies may also help determine the severity of your illness.

How may the SSA decide if my respiratory illness is a disability?

Applicants with respiratory disorders may need to undergo spirometry testing. The Mayo Clinic notes that the test measures the amount of air you breathe into and then out of your lungs. The test could also measure how fast you inhale and exhale. After interpreting your test results, the SSA may approve or deny your claim for benefits.

Severe respiratory illnesses such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may qualify for SSDI. With medical documentation, you may prove your claim. If your application results in a denial, the SSA allows you to file an appeal.