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(such as repayment for obtaining medical records)
from veterans nor from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Disability For COPD

Is COPD A Disability?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is considered a disability according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is considered a chronic respiratory impairment in section 3.02 in the SSA Blue Book.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives rights to disabled individuals under federal law. According to ADA, some chronic conditions may be regarded as disabilities. However COPD is considered a disability most of the time.

Disability-For-COPDSome of the vital tests that can help a person who has been diagnosed with COPD prove the severity of their condition include arterial blood gas, pulse oximetry, ABG tests, spirometry results, pulmonary function tests, and CT scans. There may also be other documents that indicate the individual has a decreased flow of oxygen. Records of prior hospitalization can be helpful, as well.

A patient’s doctor can provide proof of the disability. In most cases, the Social Security Administration weighs most heavily on the opinion provided by a medical expert or a specialist. This is why it is always recommended to seek guidance from a qualified pulmonologist who understands disabilities relating to COPD.

What Is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is a lung disease that can cause difficulty breathing. COPD can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing that results in a large amount of mucus, tightness in the chest, and various other symptoms from restricted breathing. You can also experience COPD after severe trauma.

Which Stage Of COPD Qualifies for Disability?

COPD disability has four stages; namely, mild, moderate, severe, and very severe. It does not matter what stage of the disorder you are experiencing, it entirely depends on whether an individual can perform work. 

  • Stage 1 COPD: early
  • Stage 2 COPD: moderate
  • Stage 3 COPD: severe
  • Stage 4 COPD: very severe

Individuals can apply for disability for COPD if they are unable to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). However, those experiencing severe or very severe COPD can more easily obtain benefits compared to those who have the mild or moderate version of the condition.

Stages 3 and 4 are when COPD can become disabling. In stage 3 or severe COPD, there is obstruction of the airways. Then, the lungs are hyperinflated. This causes breathing problems among other symptoms. It can restrict an individual’s ability to perform their day-to-day activities.

What Are The Consequences Of COPD?

One of the main causes of COPD is smoking. Many COPD sufferers currently smoke or have a history of smoking. Other people have COPD as a result of extended exposure to lung irritants, such as dust, chemical vapors, or air pollution.

When a person inhales air, the air enters the windpipe and then makes its way into the lungs. Inside the lungs, air goes into the smaller tubes, known as bronchi, and then into bronchioles, which are even smaller tubes. After the bronchioles, the inhaled air passes around small air sacs called alveoli and then to small blood vessels called capillaries. 

The oxygen present in the air passes through the alveoli and then into the capillaries. During this process, the body gets rid of carbon dioxide. Therefore, when a person exhales, they release carbon dioxide from the body.

People who have COPD often face difficulty breathing, as it permits less air to flow into and out of the lungs. This is caused by a loss of elasticity in the air sacs, damage to the walls between the air sacs, inflammation of the airways, or an increase in mucus that obstructs the air from passing. 

Because of the severe impact that COPD can have on an individual’s life, people with the condition should consider filing a disability claim if their condition prevents them from doing any kind of work.

One of the most common disorders that COPD patients may experience is depression. According to the National Library of Medicine, 40% of COPD affected people experience clinical depression or depressive symptoms. The diagnosis of depression may be challenging for healthcare professionals because symptoms of both disorders can overlap with each other.

Can You Get Disability For COPD?

Yes. In many cases, COPD qualifies for disability. Anyone having a hard time with their COPD might require monetary resources to manage their condition. If a person has not been able to engage in any kind of work for 12 months, they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if they have the necessary work credits from past employment.

A condition is considered disabling when it prevents someone from performing fundamental activities, or when it is restricting a condition, duration, or manner that helps the person perform these activities. For example, if you experience breathlessness or another symptom that is substantially limiting you from doing your job, then your employer may be required to make accommodations for you. This could help you to perform your work until you can seek disability benefits.

Eligibility Criteria For COPD

In some cases, a person may face COPD severe enough that they cannot perform any work despite appropriate employer-provided accommodations. In such situations, the person can file a claim for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. To qualify for SSDI assistance, an individual must fulfill the criteria outlined in the rules specified by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Disability relating to COPD needs to have lasted for 12 months or more and prevent that person from earning more than $1,000 a month. If the person can meet these criteria, they may be eligible to receive disability benefits.

Apart from this, there are other criteria related to respiratory conditions, such as the types of medical treatments a person is undergoing and how they are responding to those treatments. An individual must apply directly to the SSA for their application to be considered, including all of the required documentation, records of medical treatment, and testing paperwork.

The SSA may refer your case to another doctor to collect additional evidence that supports or refutes your disability claim. Overall, the application process for getting Social Security disability benefits can be complex and lengthy. It may take three to five months or longer for the SSA to determine your eligibility.

In most cases, even a person who has been approved for assistance must undergo a five-month waiting period before they can collect COPD disability benefits. The person can begin receiving the disability benefits beginning in the sixth month, as determined by the SSA.

Contact A Competent Disability Law Firm To Obtain COPD Disability Benefits

If you have COPD and you can still work, you might consider requesting reasonable accommodations from your employer.

Some of the most common types of reasonable accommodations include: 

  • Having a parking space that is close to the work site
  • Permission to use a motorized vehicle to access the work site
  • Permission to work from home
  • Maintaining a dust-free, smoke-free, and chemical-free workplace 
  • Providing advanced notice to an employee if there will be construction or cleaning
  • Enabling the employee to work a flexible schedule that permits them to take necessary medications and attend required doctor’s appointments

When an individual faces an issue obtaining accommodations from their employer, they should consider seeking help from a social security disability lawyer in their area who has handled similar cases in the past.

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