Pulmonary fibrosis is a respiratory condition in which the tissue of the lungs becomes inflamed and scarred. The signs and symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis vary by individual. In addition to shortness of breath, other common symptoms include a persistent dry cough, fatigue, aching muscles and unexplained weight loss. This progressive medical condition can make it impossible for you to work, which may entitle you to receive disability benefits.
What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic condition that compromises the elastic quality of your lungs. The disorder scars and thickens the tissue deep within the lungs, which makes it difficult for the organs to function properly. The organs gradually lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream resulting in shortness of breath. As the condition worsens, bouts of breathlessness become more frequent and persistent. Other potential complications include high blood pressure in the arteries that supply the lungs, heart failure and lung cancer.
Risk factors for the condition include long-term exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, such as silica dust and asbestos fibers. The disorder can result from other medical conditions like tuberculosis and pneumonia. Smoking and genetics may also play a part. While the damage and scarring can be caused by several factors, it is often difficult to pinpoint the precise cause for the disease in every individual. Some people become ill quickly while others have moderate symptoms that worsen slowly over time. Once the damage occurs, it cannot be reversed. Oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and medications can alleviate some symptoms and improve a patient’s quality of life. In severe cases, a lung transplant may be required.
Disability for Pulmonary Fibrosis
The Social Security Administration recognizes that certain medical conditions are so debilitating that individuals diagnosed with these disorders will not be able to sustain meaningful employment. As a result, the government agency has implemented Compassionate Allowances for illnesses that typically have a short life expectancy like pulmonary fibrosis. While the condition does not have its own entry in the Blue Book, it is covered under Sections 3.00 Respiratory System and 3.02 Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency.
Although this streamlined program enables individuals to be automatically approved and receive benefits quicker than those diagnosed with less serious conditions, the process can still be cumbersome and time consuming. Filing for disability requires medical documentation reflecting an irrefutable diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. The documents should also include spirometer test results showing forced expiratory volume or forced vital capacity values as well as any responses to therapy and other treatments. Although pulmonary fibrosis is covered under the Compassionate Allowances Program, you must provide the Social Security Administration with a complete and accurate request for disability benefits. Failure to provide any required information or documentation can result in a denial of your claim.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance
The best way to ensure that you will receive the benefits for which you are entitled is to hire an experienced attorney familiar with the intricacies of the Social Security Disability Insurance filing process. Our team is ready to assist you during this trying time. We ensure that all your documentation is correct before submission and the process is handled correctly. This greatly increases your probability of a first-time claims approval. If your claim has been denied, we can also handle the appeals process. We understand that time is of the essence and that these benefits may be necessary for you to remain financially independent. If you are filing an initial claim or have already been denied benefits, contact our office to schedule an appointment to review your case. We will discuss your legal options and work with you to develop the best course of action to help you obtain the disability benefits you deserve.