As a serious disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can cause a wide variety of symptoms that negatively impact workplace performance. The disease is frequently caused by prolonged exposure to irritating particles and/or certain types of gases. If untreated, COPD can morph into a much serious disease like heart disease or lung cancer. Patients with emphysema or chronic bronchitis are the most susceptible to developing COPD symptoms. If you have received a COPD diagnosis, you should submit evidence of the diagnosis, as well as any documentation signed off by your physician to the Social Security Administration (SSA)
How Do COPD Symptoms Affect Your Work Performance?
COPD symptoms frequently do not become obvious until substantial damage has impacted the lungs. If your COPD symptoms make it impossible to work a full-time job, then you should apply to the SSA to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). COPD can trigger wheezing episodes that last minutes at a time. The debilitating disease also can result in lethargy, shortness of breath, and a chronic cough that worsens over time. Professionals that work in physically active jobs face the biggest hurdle trying to overcome COPD symptoms. Some of the careers that can be derailed by COPD include professionals that hang drywall or install HVAC systems.
Can You Qualify for SSDI Benefits With COPD?
The first step for qualifying for SSDI with COPD is to make sure your job is covered by Social Security benefits. After you pass step one, then you submit a detailed application for the SSA to review. Your SSDI application should include attached medical documentation that represents evidence of your COPD symptoms. The SSA requires SSDI applicants to demonstrate they no longer can do the same work that they did before the onset of COPD. Moreover, your COPD disability must have lasted for at least one year before the submission of your SSDI application. The SSA refers to a guide called the Blue Book to determine SSDI eligibility. COPD is listed as a chronic respiratory disorder under Section 3.02.
Residual Functional Capacity Assessment
With more than 50 percent of all SSDI claims rejected by the SSA, how do COPD patients receive financial assistance for covering the costs associated with diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating the respiratory disorder? The answer lies in taking a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. An RFC represents a more thorough review of your case that is conducted by Disability Determination Services (DDS). The branch of the SSA might ask you to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation that is done by a DDS physician. You can also file a request for your doctor to complete an RFC. Your doctor knows more about how COPD has negatively impacted you more than any other medical professional
Work with a Disability Attorney
Getting a professional on your side can help move along your SSDI application by contacting the SSA for updates. Working with a disability lawyer can also help you present the most persuasive evidence possible. If your initial claim comes back denied by the SSA, an attorney will prepare you for an RFC. Most disability lawyers get paid after their clients get paid by the SSA.