Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) impacts millions of Americans each year. For those who receive a COPD diagnosis, the prognosis is often unclear. Many COPD patients face the fear of not knowing how their disease will progress and whether or not they will be able to continue working.
There are resources available for Arizona residents who have been impacted by COPD. For those individuals who can no longer work as a result of the symptoms associated with COPD, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has disability programs that may help.
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program offers financial assistance to those who have become permanently disabled as a result of COPD.
Pulmonologists in Arizona
COPD is a progressive inflammatory disease that impacts the lungs with symptoms such as frequent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. For those with advanced cases of the illness, other body systems can also be impacted.
While scientists have yet to find a cure for the COPD, advances have been made when it comes to symptom management. While many primary care doctors diagnose and treat COPD, it is best managed by a pulmonologist.
Pulmonologists are doctors who specialize in health conditions related to the respiratory system. As such, they are experts in treating the symptoms associated with COPD.
In addition to ordering the necessary tests to diagnose your illness properly, your pulmonologist will be able to assess the severity of your disease, as well as manage your treatment plan.
While your pulmonologist will play a vital role in managing your health, he or she will also be instrumental in helping you obtain the disability benefits that you are seeking. When applying for Social Security benefits, your pulmonologist will be expected to submit evidence in the form of medical records on your behalf.
The SSA places an enormous amount of weight on the opinion and information provided by medical experts, making your pulmonologist an essential player in the game.
As soon as you decide to apply for SSDI benefits, you will want to discuss your intentions with your pulmonologist. You may consider reviewing section 3.00 of the Blue Book together.
The Blue Book is the medical guide used by the SSA to determine which medical impairments are severe enough to warrant disability awards. Section 3.00, which addresses respiratory illnesses, highlights the medical evidence that your pulmonologist should provide to the SSA.
If you have yet to establish a good working relationship with a pulmonologist, here are three in the Arizona area that you may want to consider:
Arizona Pulmonary Specialists, Ltd.
3330 N. 2nd St. Ste. 300
Phoenix AZ 85012
Tucson Pulmonology, PC
6567 E Carondelet Drive, Suite 215
Tucson, AZ 85710
Pulmonary Associates, PA
5151 E. Broadway Road, Suite 107
COPD Support Groups in Arizona
COPD is a variable disease that impacts individuals very differently. Unlike experiencing a sudden health event such as a stroke or a heart attack, COPD causes a gradual decline in health that sometimes goes unnoticed by friends and family.
Establishing a reliable support system has been shown to improve health outcomes, as well as to ward off the emotional side effects that often accompany COPD, such as depression and anxiety. Many patients with COPD have found enormous value in joining a COPD support group.
COPD support groups can be an effective way to obtain the emotional support that you need. In addition, you can learn about meaningful ways to manage your illness and adjust to your new life. Most importantly, joining a COPD support group will help you feel less alone as you navigate living with your disease.
While online support groups and forums can provide some assistance, it’s best to attend an in-person meeting, if possible. Here are three within the state of Arizona:
Better Breathers Club – Phoenix
Meets every second Monday of the month from 4:00 – 5:00 pm
1610 West Glendale Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85021
Better Breathers Club – Tucson
Meets every third Wednesday of the month from 3:00 – 4:30 pm
Banner University Medical Center
1501 N Campbell Ave, Respiratory Science Building, Room 2343
Tucson, AZ 85724
Better Breathers Club – Chandler
Meets every third Wednesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Oct-May)
Chandler Regional Medical Center
Morrison Building, Conference Room #1
1955 W Frye Rd Chandler, AZ 85224
(480) 728- 3256
Applying for Social Security Benefits for COPD in Arizona
The Social Security disability application process in Arizona is not unlike the process in other states. While the SSDI program is a federal program, it is administered at the state level. Numerous Social Security offices within Arizona can be of assistance to you as you navigate the application process.
To apply for SSDI benefits, you will need to submit a completed application accompanied by a significant amount of medical evidence to support your claim. You will need to prove that your COPD is so severe that it prevents you from maintaining a job.
Further, as the Social Security disability programs are meant for those who are permanently disabled, you will need to demonstrate that the symptoms from your COPD will keep you from returning to work for at least one year. The progressive nature of the illness should make this relatively easy to demonstrate.
Keep in mind that if you have applied for disability benefits in the past for your COPD and were denied, you can apply again. In fact, if it is entirely possible that your health has deteriorated since your last claim, making it such that you might be awarded disability benefits this time around.
You can apply for SSDI benefits online or by visiting one of the many local Social Security offices near you. Listed here are three of the offices located in the larger cities of Arizona.
250 N Seventh Ave Suite 100
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
88 W 38th St Suite 100
Tucson, Arizona 85713