Obliterative Bronchiolitis and Social Security Disability

For a variety of reasons, the average application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits takes at least three months for the initial review to be completed. Also for a range of reasons, though the most common is a lack of sufficient medical documentation, the majority (about 70%) of SSD claims are denied. This means most applicants must go through a second review and potentially an appeal before they receive a final determination on their eligibility for benefits. The entire process can take anywhere from several months to more than two years.

Those who have terminal illnesses and very severe disabilities don’t have that long to wait for benefits. The SSA understands this and developed the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008 to more quickly and efficiently address the applications for those who clearly suffer from terminal illnesses and inherently disabling conditions.

At the present time, there are 113 conditions on the SSA’s CAL list. Come August, another 52 will become active on that list, including Obliterative Bronchiolitis.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of Obliterative Bronchiolitis, the following information will help you understand the SSA’s disability claims process for this diagnosis. It will also give you some guidelines for increasing your chances of being quickly approved for disability benefits under the CAL guidelines of the SSA.

Obliterative Bronchiolitis – Condition and Symptoms

Obliterative Bronchiolitis, also commonly known as Bronchiolitis Obliterans, Constrictive Bronchiolitis, and simply as OB, is a rare, non-reversible, and life-threatening form of obstructive pulmonary disease in which scar tissue and inflammation in the bronchioles cause restricted breathing. The disease can affect individuals of all ages but is also typically referenced when referring to cases of Pediatric Bronchiolitis which results from contraction of the Adenovirus.

Symptoms of Obliterative Bronchiolitis include dry cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. It is often misdiagnosed as pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and emphysema due to symptom similarity. Symptoms typically come on gradually, but dependent upon the cause of the condition, symptom onset can be quite sudden.

Correct diagnosis of the condition often requires a number of tests, including imaging tests like x-rays and high resolution computerized tomography, and tests that measure lung function and fixed airway obstruction. In some cases, lung biopsies are also performed to rule out other types of obstructive lung disease.

Obliterative Bronchiolitis can develop for a number of reasons in children and adults. Exposure to toxic fumes, viral infection, reactions to medications, aspiration of liquid medications and toxins, rejection of a transplanted lung and complications from premature birth and certain kinds of diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, can all result in the development of the condition. In some cases, the reason for the disorder is entirely unknown.

Early detection and correct diagnosis of Obliterative Bronchiolitis is crucial. While the condition is irreversible and usually progressive regardless of when diagnosis is made, early diagnosis allows medical intervention which can, in some cases, prevent the development of additional scar tissue. However, once scar tissue has developed, it cannot be removed and the degree of respiratory distress determines treatment.

In the most severe cases, lung transplant surgery is the only effective treatment, while less severe cases can be treated with breathing support, and anti-inflammatory medications and other drugs designed to open the airways. Treating the symptoms is often the best that can be done for many who suffer from Obliterative Bronchiolitis.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Obliterative Bronchiolitis

Whether you’re filing an SSD claim for yourself or on behalf of a child with Obliterative Bronchiolitis, the medical documentation requirements for substantiating eligibility for disability benefits will be the same. The diagnosis of Obliterative Bronchiolitis alone is not enough to ensure approval for benefits. You must include all of your test results and other medical records as well as statements from your various doctors in your claim as well. The more detailed the information is you’re able to provide, the more likely your claim will be approved quickly and without further need for secondary reviews or appeals.

Your Obliterative Bronchiolitis Social Security Disability Case

While Obliterative Bronchiolitis was recently added to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances list, this does not guarantee a claim filed with this diagnosis will automatically be approved. You must still show proof of diagnosis and other medical documentation in order to be approved for benefits.

Hiring a disability attorney can make the claims process run more smoothly and can shorten the wait time for SSD benefits as well. He or she can help by reviewing your claim and ensuring you have the appropriate medical records and other documents in your application necessary to satisfy the SSA’s requirements.

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