Tips on Applying for Disability Benefits with Asthma

Asthma is a condition that causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and more because of blocked airflow in and out of the lungs. Asthma falls under a larger group of respiratory disorders that may cause disability and qualify you for benefits.

Medical Evidence

In order to qualify for disability benefits for your asthma, you must suffer from a very severe form of the disorder. When it comes to respiratory conditions, only the most severe cases usually qualify for disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) may approve you for disability benefits if your asthma meets certain criteria. For instance, if you suffer from chronic asthmatic bronchitis, you may be likely to qualify for benefits. There are certain symptoms typical to this type of asthma, including:

  • Having an asthma attack that lasts for one day or more and requires treatment in intensive care
  • Asthma attacks that occur at least once every two months or six times per year

It will be helpful to provide the SSA with any medical evidence, records of hospitalization periods, diagnostic tests, and the history of your treatments, medications, and any side effects that they may have caused.

The SSA may also prefer to look at certain medical tests, including any previous pulmonary function testing, which analyzes how well your lungs are working, as well as your treatment history from a doctor specializing in your asthma, such as a pulmonologist, a physician who treats lungs.

Non-Medical Evidence

If your asthma is not severe enough to automatically qualify you for disability benefits through the SSA, you still have some options. In fact, most people receive disability benefits for their asthma by a method called a “medical-vocational allowance”. In cases such as this, the SSA looks at your age, education level, previous work experience, and your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to see if you are able to reasonably perform any job.

Your RFC is a statement about the physical and mental capabilities you still possess despite your illness and the side effects from it. It should provide details on how well you can walk, sit, and stand, as well as how much weight you are able to lift and carry despite your condition.

Common symptoms associated with asthma may make it difficult to work in areas that involve dust, fumes, odors, and extreme heat or cold. If you require an oxygen machine or similar breathing device, it may also make it difficult for you to perform certain types of physical labor.

Most respiratory conditions, including asthma, become worse as you get older. If you are over 50, you may qualify for disability benefits due to certain age guidelines involving your asthma.

The SSA will look at your RFC and all of these factors to determine if there is a job you can reasonably be expected to perform with your disorder. If not, you are likely to be approved for disability benefits for asthma.

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