Social Security Disability and COPD
Can you recover Social Security disability benefits for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD? The short answer is yes, in some cases.
My clients with this condition often describe the feeling of an “elephant sitting on my chest” making it difficult to breathe. Any strenuous physical activity can trigger shortness of breath and cause them to cough, wheeze and gasp for air. While years of smoking can often cause or contribute to this condition, not everyone with COPD is a smoker. Years of working around dust and prolonged exposure to chemicals and noxious fumes can lead to this disorder as well.
COPD is treated with the use of inhalers like albuterol and some newer medications that reduce inflammation and mucous production. Some of my clients also use portable oxygen containers and receive steady bursts of oxygen through a face mask or nasal prongs.
(The first thing I ask any client with COPD is if they smoke. If they do I tell them to stop smoking now! That is the single best thing they can do for their condition.)
To get approved for Social Security disability for COPD you must either have such a severe case that it meets the “Listing” for Respiratory Disorders (that is, it is so severe that you qualify automatically) or this condition, alone or in combination with your other health problems, renders you unable to work. For the latter requirement to be met you must generally prove that you are unable to perform the kind of work you used to do or any other work that you may be qualified for at your age and education level.
Most people with COPD will also have other health problems that may affect their ability to function. When filing for Social Security disability it is important to document all of your medical problems, as the Social Security Administration is required to consider all of your conditions in making their determination of disability.