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Lung Infections and Social Security Disability

Mycobacterial, Mycotic, and Other Chronic, Persistent Infections of the Lung – Conditions and Symptoms

Two of the more commonly disabling forms of chronic, persistent lung infections are Mycobacterial and Mycotic. A number of other types of lung infections may also cause disability for those who suffer from them. Typically speaking, lung infections are disabling because they limit the amount of oxygen received, causing shortness of breath, fatigue, and low oxygen in the blood (with all of the potential problems that causes).

Mycobacterial lung infections, also known as Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infections, are caused by bacterial elements. It often first shows as a persistent, often dry, cough. In addition to the circulatory problems it can cause, symptoms such as fever, weight loss, malabsorption, and diarrhea are sometimes associated with the condition. Mycobacterial infections are often treated with antibiotics.

Mycotic lung infections are similar in effect, but are caused by a fungal source within the lungs. Mycotic infections are more common amongst those who live in hot, humid climates and are often caused by inhalation of fungal spores. Often, Mycotic lung infections occur as a result of taking antibiotics. This is because antibiotics don’t distinguish between “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria” in the body, eliminating both. In a healthy system, good bacteria would fight the Mycotic infection brought on by fungi.

Mycobacterial and Mycotic lung infections are just two of many kinds of chronic lung infections which can cause serious disability. All lung infections affect a person’s ability to breathe in one way or another, ultimately affecting the circulatory system. Since virtually all of the body’s functions depend on oxygen supplied from the lungs, a loss of lung function can have wide ranging effects on the whole body and its ability to perform routine, daily tasks.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Mycobacterial, Mycotic, or Other Chronic, Persistent Lung Infection

The particulars of filing for Social Security disability with a diagnosis of Mycobacterial, Mycotic, or other chronic, persistent lung infection can be found in the SSA’s Blue Book Section 3.08. The condition is largely evaluated using the criteria for pulmonary infections found in Section 3.02. This includes physical observations and medical testing designed to measure the amount of lung functional capacity remaining.

There are two main measurements used to express lung function. Generally speaking, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, a claimants overall lung functioning must be below 40% of normal. The two primary measurements used to determine this are:

  • Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) – taken using a spirogram test, which measures the amount of gas contained in the lungs at the time of closure.
  • Forced Expiratory Volume (FEV) – also taken with a spirogram, this test measures the amount of air exhaled in one second.

There are precise ranges within which a person’s FVC and FEV must fall in order to qualify the person as disabled under Social Security Administration definitions. These ranges take into account the claimant’s height and weight as well as the elevation above sea level where the tests are performed. Because obesity is often considered a factor in lung functioning, it is often used to help make a disability case if a person is both obese and suffers from lung infections.

Those who fall within the prescribed FEV and FVC measurements meet a Blue Book listing and qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Those who don’t may still qualify by showing that their residual functional capacity has been reduced enough that they can no longer reasonably be expected to continue working.

As with other conditions, those who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits based on chronic persistent lung infections should make it a point to list any and all disabling conditions, both medical and metal, which they may have. This is because the sum of your disabilities may be considered to equal or exceed a Blue Book listing even if none of them qualifies you for disability benefits on its own.

When filing your claim, you will need to include the longitudinal medical form, which should include all test results and your response to them. The SSA in particular wants to see that you are following the treatment regimen prescribed by your doctor and still can’t be expected to make enough of a recovery to return to work within twelve months of the date of the disability’s onset.

Your Mycobacterial, Mycotic, and Other Chronic, Persistent Lung infections Disability Case

You might be tempted to think that chronic lung infection claims are open and shut cases. After all, if you can’t breathe effectively, you can’t do much else. However, it’s not always easy to get these claims approved by the SSA.

Most claimants find it helpful to have a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer handling their claims for them. Not only does this remove much of the stress of filing for disability, but it also gives you a much better chance of having your claim approved, especially in the initial stages.

For a free disability evaluation of your chronic, persistent lung infection disability case, fill out the request form available on this site today.