As the disease progresses, more alveoli are destroyed, and breathing can become increasingly difficult. There is no cure as of now, but avoiding lung irritants, such as smoke or air pollution, can slow the disease’s progress. Lung disease generally refers to any issue that prevents a patient’s lungs from working correctly.
Three Types of Lung Disease
When deciding whether to grant disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider the symptoms the applicant faces, including shortness of breath, poor lung functionality, chest pain, and coughing that produces bloody sputum. But these symptoms alone are not sufficient for the SSA to approve your application; you must also provide the SSA with extensive medical records that show the date on which the respiratory disorder first prevented you from working.
- Airway Diseases
Airway diseases affect the tubes (airways) that carry oxygen and other gases in and out of the lungs, often causing airway blockages. People with this kind of disease usually say that they feel like they are breathing through a drinking straw. Common airway diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bronchiectasis.
- Lung Circulation Diseases
Lung circulation diseases affect the blood vessels within the lungs. They compromise the lungs’ capacity to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. These diseases may affect heart functions, too. They are most often caused by clotting, scarring, and blood vessel inflammation.
- Lung Tissue Diseases
Lung tissue diseases affect the structure of the lung tissue and make it hard for the patient to inhale and exhale effectively. People who have lung tissue disease often say that they feel suffocated, as if they are wearing a restrictively tight vest or sweater.
In addition, tissue inflammation or scarring prevents the lungs from expanding fully. Sarcoidosis and pulmonary fibrosis are two examples of lung tissue diseases.
Common lung diseases include lung cancer, obstructive airway disease, emphysema, COPD, asthma, chronic pulmonary insufficiency, cystic fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, and bronchiectasis. You may qualify for benefits for respiratory disorders if your condition severely affects your ability to work.
When the SSA reviews your disability application, it will make several determinations, including whether:
- Your respiratory illness is severe, meaning that it regularly impacts your daily routine
- Your illness has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months
- You engage in an activity that the SSA considers to be substantial
Filing a Claim With an Emphysema Diagnosis
There is no specific listing for disability for emphysema in the SSA blue book. Instead, it has been categorized under the listing of “obstructive airway disease”.
Individuals diagnosed with obstructive airway disease may qualify for benefits, but the applicant must provide documented medical records that prove they meet the blue book listing’s criteria.
When applying, the applicant should show that they have been diagnosed clinically with chronic pulmonary disease and that their obstructive airway disease is severe enough to prevent them from working. The documentation must show the severity of the condition and provide information on how well the body can function as a result of medical treatment.
To qualify for SSDI, one had to work to earn enough credits and pay enough Social Security taxes. The SSA evaluates disability claims using the so-called grid rules. The grid rules are based on the fact that older individuals will find it more difficult to transition to a new occupation and the reality that employers are less likely to hire someone over age 50.
There are separate criteria for applications relating to disability benefits over 50. You can learn more details before you apply from the blue book or by talking to attorneys.
To arrive at its disability findings, the SSA grid uses the following factors:
- Applicant’s age
- Applicant’s education
- Whether the applicant has skills they can use in a different occupation
- Applicant’s ability to perform sustained physical labor
If the applicant lives in Illinois and is disabled, they can receive cash assistance through the state’s Aid to the Aged program.
There are three options for applying for federal benefits:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants can apply online
- Anyone can apply at their local field office
- Anyone can apply by telephone.
Half of applicants are generally awarded benefits. The average wait for an administrative law judge (ALJ) hearing in Illinois is 14 months, following a denial of benefits.
Take Your First Legal Step Very Carefully
If you are denied benefits, you have the right to seek reconsideration and appeal. An applicant will generally receive a written decision on their application for reconsideration within three to four months of submitting their paperwork. If your reconsideration is denied, the next step in the SSA appeals process is to appear for a disability hearing before an ALJ.
It can be beneficial for you to hire an experienced attorney to represent your interests during this hearing. Individuals who have legal representation often have an easier time getting approved on appeal for the benefits they deserve. In addition, an applicant can set up a free consultation with a Chicago disability attorney to learn more about the viability of their claim.
You can avoid unnecessary hassles and concentrate on your health when you have legal representatives by your side.