Bronchiectasis and Social Security Disability

Bronchiectasis-Condition and Symptoms

The bronchi are passageways in the respiratory tract that conduct air into the lungs. Bronchiectasis is an obstructive lung disease state that results from irreversible dilation of the bronchi, caused by destruction of the muscle and elastic tissue in these passageways. The result is that the bronchi become inflamed and collapse easily, which makes it more difficult for the body to expel lung secretions and can cause obstructions to the flow of air in and out of the lungs.

There are a number of different conditions that can result in Bronchiectasis. Some of them include:

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Inhalation and aspiration of toxic gases such as ammonia and others
  • Alcoholism
  • Heroin use
  • Various allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Cystic Fibrosis

Symptoms of Bronchiectasis may include frequent, substantial production of green/yellow sputum (possibly up to 8 oz. /240 ml daily), frequent, recurrent respiratory infections, bad breath, and possible diarrhea (when associated with cystic fibrosis).

Bronchiectasis can usually be diagnosed through a Computed Tomography (CT) scan, because the results in characteristic abnormalities in the lung and bronchial tissues. In cases where CT does not yield a definitive diagnosis, a medical history which details frequent respiratory infections combined with evidence based on blood work and sputum culture samples may provide sufficient evidence for diagnosis.

Treatment for Bronchiectasis includes controlling airway obstructions, treatment and prevention of bronchial infections through long-term antibiotics, surgical removal of affected portions of the lung, administration of bronchodilators, and inhaled steroid therapy. In some cases, combined therapies may be necessary.

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Bronchiectasis Diagnosis

Bronchiectasis is one of the conditions listed in the Social Security Administration Blue Book, or list of disabilities that can qualify a person for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to meet the criteria for these benefits, your physician must diagnose you with Bronchiectasis through the appropriate imaging techniques, which is usually a CT scan. Additionally, at least one of the following conditions must also be present:

  • Impaired lung functions, which can be demonstrated through one of two different specific measurements of lung capacity or one of three different specific measurements of gas exchange within the respiratory system, or
  • Episodes of bronchitis, pneumonia, hemoptysis (bloody sputum), or respiratory failure (defined as prolonged symptomatic episodes lasting one or more days and requiring intensive treatment at a medical facility) requiring physician treatment, occurring at least once every 2 months or at least six times a year. Episodes that require a hospital stay of more than 24 hours will be counted as 2 episodes. It is necessary to provide a history from at least 12 consecutive months in order to establish how frequently the episodes occur.

Fortunately, most of these conditions are part of the criteria upon which a Bronchiectasis diagnosis is based, so they may very well already be present. It is imperative, however, that they be adequately documented so that an appropriate history can be established as a basis for approval of your Social Security Disability benefits.

Your Bronchiectasis Disability Case

If you are disabled because the symptoms of Bronchiectasis leave you entirely unable to earn a living, there is a very strong possibility that you are entitled to get Social Security Disability benefits. However, providing all of the proper documents required by the SSA can prove to be exceedingly difficult. For this reason, it is strongly suggested that you seek the services of a Social Security Disability attorney.

As you can see, there is a lot more to qualifying for disability benefits than simply having a qualifying condition. You also have to be able to prove, in very specific ways, that the condition has impacted your life and your health to the degree that you are unable to work and provide for your needs or the needs of your family. Acquiring that proof and submitting it in a fashion that will result in approval of your disability benefits can be a very taxing endeavor, one best left to a professional. Working in collaboration with your health care team, a Social Security Disability lawyer will be able to obtain and present the documents you need so that your disability benefits can be received in the timeliest possible manner.

As many as seventy percent of the applications for Social Security Disability are denied benefits when they first enter the system. Many of these denials come not because the applicants don’t qualify for benefits, but because of procedural errors such as inadequate documentation.

Once a case has been denied it then becomes necessary to appeal the decision, which can lead to long and potentially costly delays. It is not unusual for cases to drag out for months or even years. A Social Security Disability attorney can help you to avoid the potential mistakes that could lead to a long delay in receiving your benefits. Do yourself a big favor and have your case evaluated by a Social Security Disability lawyer today.

Additional Resources

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