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Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Social Security Disability

When applying for Social Security Disability, the typical applicant must wait anywhere from three to four months to receive a decision regarding their disability claim. Unfortunately, the majority of these applicants do not receive the decision they had been hoping for, as approximately 70 percent of initial stage Social Security Disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These applicants must then undergo the extensive and lengthy disability appeals process in order to obtain the benefits to which they may be rightfully entitled. Unfortunately, this process can take some applicants more than two years to complete.

The fact of the matter is that some Social Security Disability applicants cannot wait years, or even a few months, for their disability benefits to begin. Some conditions are so severe that they warrant immediate attention from the Social Security Administration. Fortunately, the SSA has recognized this fact, and in 2008 they implemented the Compassionate Allowances program to address the problem.

The Compassionate Allowances initiative allows some Social Security Disability applicants to be approved for disability benefits in a matter of weeks, rather than having to wait months or years for a decision regarding their Social Security Disability claim. There are 88 conditions that qualify a claim for faster handling under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is one of these.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, the following information will help you understand how the condition affects eligibility for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, and how you can increase your chances of having your disability claim processed under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis - Condition and Symptoms

Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, also known as IPF, cryptogenic fibrosing alveolitis or CFA, is a progressive lung disease. The condition is usually diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults. IPF is characterized by a fibrosis of the framework of the lungs. Over time, the tissue deep within the lungs becomes scarred, stiff, and thick. As this happens, the lungs lose their ability to move oxygen into the bloodstream, resulting in a lack of oxygen being provided to the brain and other vital organs of the body.

When the cause of the condition cannot be identified, a diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is given when an individual suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and the underlying cause of the condition cannot be identified. The symptoms of IPF can vary from individual to individual, but common symptoms of the condition include chest pain, chronic cough, decreased stamina, and shortness of breath.

If a doctor suspects a case of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, he or she will order a number of tests in addition to performing a physical exam. Common tests used to diagnose the condition include a bronchoscopy with transbronchial lung biopsy, chest CT scans, chest x-rays, blood oxygen level measurements, and pulmonary function tests. The doctor will also perform other tests to rule out other possible causes of symptoms, such as tests for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately there is no cure for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. While the prognosis varies by case because the disease can progress at varying rates, many of the people who are diagnosed with IPF survive only three to five years after diagnosis. In most cases, the cause of death for a patient with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is respiratory failure.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

A diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis can be devastating and the condition is very debilitating and severe. As such, the SSA has included the disease as one of the 88 conditions that qualify an individual for faster disability approval under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

When you file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits, you will want to provide the SSA with as much medical evidence as possible to support your disability claim. Copies of your medical records including x-rays, laboratory tests, and blood work should be provided along with your claim for disability benefits. You should also obtain written statements from your treating physicians to support your Social Security Disability claim. The more evidence you provide with your disability application, the more likely you will be to obtain a quick and hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability benefits.

Your Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Social Security Disability Case

Many people who file Social Security Disability claims based on a condition that qualifies for expedited consideration under the Compassionate Allowances listings assume that their application for benefits will be automatically approved by the SSA. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While it is rare for the SSA to deny a claim for benefits based on a Compassionate Allowance, it does happen on occasion. This is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence, an improperly submitted application, or confusion on the part of the adjudicator who is reviewing the claim. Because of this, it may be in your best interests to retain the services of a qualified disability advocate or attorney.

When you retain a disability attorney to handle your Social Security case, the attorney or advocate will work with you to obtain all of the medical evidence needed to support your disability claim. He or she will also assist you in presenting your application to the Social Security Administration, assuring that the adjudicator reviewing your file will understand how your claim qualifies for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.