If you are one of the approximately 10,000 Ohio residents who have been diagnosed with COPD, you know first-hand just how debilitating the illness can be.
With symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can be both exhausting and scary. The progressive nature of the disease often leaves its victims wondering what the future holds.
While there is no cure for COPD, there are many federal and local resources for patients who are living with the condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two distinct programs aimed at offering financial assistance to those who are unable to work as a result of a serious medical condition, such as COPD. Ohio residents with COPD may qualify for the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
Pulmonologists in Ohio
Some patients with COPD are managed by a primary care doctor (PCP). While most PCPs understand COPD, they are generalists who are not specially trained in the respiratory system.
If you have COPD, you should be under the care of a pulmonologist. Pulmonologists are medical experts that focus solely on health conditions related to the lungs.
Your pulmonologist will follow your care throughout the course of your illness, ordering the right medical tests and adjusting your treatment regimen as needed. A pulmonologist will be able to ensure that your symptoms are under control as best as possible.
In addition to providing you with expert medical care, your pulmonologist will also play a vital role in the disability application process. Upon applying for SSDI benefits, the SSA will require a substantial amount of medical documentation related to test results, physical examinations, and your long-term prognosis.
As the SSA places an enormous about of weight on the opinion of experts, they will look closely at the medical information provided by your pulmonologist.
If you are thinking about applying for disability benefits, you will want to discuss your plan with your pulmonologist. Together, you may want to review the respiratory section, 3.00, of the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the medical guide used by the SSA to determine who is ill enough to warrant a disability award.
Included in this book are a list of criteria by which you must meet to be approved. By reviewing this section together, your pulmonologist can see which medical tests might still need to be taken, as well as the other criteria that you may or may not meet.
If you have not yet established a good working relationship with a pulmonologist, here are three practices in Ohio that may be able to assist you:
OhioHealth Pulmonary Physicians
111 South Grant Ave, 2nd Floor Columbus, OH 43215 https://www.ohiohealth.com/ohiohealth-physician-group/ohiohealth-pulmonary-physicians/
Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute
9500 Euclid Avenue Cleveland, OH 44195 (216) 444-6503 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/departments/respiratory
Tri-State Pulmonary Associates
7545 Beechmont Avenue, Suite G Cincinnati, OH 45225 (513) 241-5489 https://tspapulmonary.com
COPD Support Groups in Ohio
No matter the illness, having a strong support system improves patient health outcomes. This is undoubtedly the case for patients with COPD. Unlike other health conditions that occur suddenly, such as a heart attack, COPD is a progressive disease that often creeps up on patients unknowingly.
In fact, there are millions of undiagnosed patients living with COPD across the United States. If left untreated, COPD can progress quickly, often leaving patients breathless and scared.
While family can provide significant support to COPD patients, they may not understand the illness or know the best way to help. Therefore, some people find great value in joining a COPD support group. COPD support groups can offer newly diagnosed patients with tremendous knowledge and information. More importantly, they can provide emotion and social support with a group of individuals experiencing similar struggles in life.
There are online COPD support groups for individuals unable to travel. However, if you are able to make it to an in-person meeting, you might find great value.
Here are three in the Ohio area:
Better Breathers Club – Wesley Glenn
Meets every fourth Thursday of the month 6:30 – 7:30 pm Wesley Glenn 5155 North High Street - Guild Room Columbus, OH 43214 (614) 842-8007
Better Breathers Club – Independence
Meets every third Thursday of the month from 10:30 am -12:00 pm Vox Mobile Building 6100 Rockside Woods Blvd North, Suite 260 Independence, OH 44131 (216) 524-5864
Better Breathers Club – Cincinnati
Meets every last Friday of the month from 12:00 – 1:00 pm Christ Hospital 2139 Auburn Ave Cincinnati, OH 45219 (513) 585- 2787
Applying for Social Security Benefits for COPD in Ohio
Ohio has its fair share of COPD cases with 8.6 percent of Ohio residents affected by the illness compared to 6.1 percent nationally. While many people suffer from the disease, not all individuals who apply for SSDI benefits will be approved. Only the more severe cases that are backed by significant medical evidence will be considered for a disability award.
To apply for Social Security disability benefits in Ohio, you will need to prove that your respiratory illness is so severe that you are unable to work as a result of your condition. Further, Social Security disability benefits are meant for those individuals who are permanently disabled.
Therefore, you will need to show that your COPD has kept you out of work for at least a year, or that your illness is expected to progress such that you will be unable to work for at least 12-months. As COPD is a progressive and chronic illness, the state of your health currently is unlikely to improve.
In fact, if you have filed for disability benefits in the past and have been denied, you may be able to apply again with a different result.
Most individuals prefer to apply for disability benefits online. However, there are also several Social Security offices in Ohio that can help you as well.
Here are three that you may want to visit:
Columbus Social Security Office 43213
220 S Hamilton Rd Columbus, Ohio 43213 (866) 592-0733
Cleveland Social Security Office 44102
517 Lorain Ave Cleveland, Ohio 44102 (800) 772-1213
Cincinnati Social Security Office 45202
550 Main St Room 2000 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 (800) 772-1213
Can a Social Security Lawyer Help with my COPD Claim in Ohio?
The Social Security disability application process is complex, no matter the state which you reside. In an ideal situation, your claim is processed quickly, and you are awarded disability benefits in the initial round of the process.
However, the percentage of applicants who win their claim in the first step of the process is only around 35%. The remaining 65% of applicants must file for an appeal.
As most cases are won or lost on the medical evidence provided, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to hire a Social Security lawyer to assist you with your COPD claim.
An experienced lawyer will ensure that your disability application is complete early on in the process, thus improving your chance quick approval. If an initial approval does not occur, your disability lawyer can work to meet all of the required deadlines to file for an appeal.
When you are sick with COPD, you’ll want to preserve your energy for the essential things in life, such as family, friends, and breathing. Hiring a lawyer to help you navigate the complex SSDI application process will ensure that you have more time for the things that matter.