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Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Social Security Disability

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) and Social Security Disability Benefits

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious bacterial infection that often occurs in the lungs. Depending on the severity of the infection, TB can spread to other organs and become quite difficult to treat.

If you have TB and wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is crucial that you understand the intricacies of the application process. See below to learn more about qualifying for disability benefits with pulmonary tuberculosis.

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) Symptoms

It is important to note that pulmonary tuberculosis can remain dormant and symptomless for long periods of time. Symptoms will not appear until the disease becomes active. This process can take years. When TB symptoms become present, they often include:

  • Coughing that produces mucous
  • Coughing up blood
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Chronic wheezing
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Rapid heartbeat

Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB) and Qualifying Criteria

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits, your condition must meet the criteria that have been set forth in the SSA’s Blue Book of qualifying conditions. Each condition has specific medical requirements that you must be able to support with medical evidence in order to qualify.

Unfortunately there is no listing for pulmonary tuberculosis in the SSA’s Blue Book. This is largely due to the fact that TB can often be treated over the course of a few months with heavy antibiotics. However, if TB has prevented you from performing substantial gainful activity for more than 12 months (or if your physician expects it to), you can qualify for benefits based on the SSA’s listing for other conditions such as:

  • Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency (3.02); and
  • Mycobacterial, mycotic, and other chronic persistent infections of the lung (3.08)

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to TB under section 3.02 of the Blue Book, you must provide the following medical evidence to support that you suffer from:

  • A chronic restrictive ventilatory disease that has or will result in respiratory failure, lung restriction, or circulatory problems
  • Scarring or inflammation of the lungs
  • Impaired gas exchange due to a documented pulmonary disease

It is important to consult your medical doctor prior to applying for disability benefits. He or she will be able to perform the necessary medical tests and provide you with thorough documentation of your illness.

The Services of a Social Security Disability Attorney

It can be difficult to qualify for disability benefits without proper medical evidence. If you are having a hard time collecting documentation to support your disability application, you should seek the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. An attorney will make sure that you include accurate and thorough medical documentation to support your disability application.

Submitted by: Molly Clarke