As a potentially debilitating lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can produce symptoms that include a constant cough, the production of mucus, and prolonged periods of breathing difficulty. Shortness of breath is an especially troubling symptom for workers that lose a considerable amount of energy trying to compensate for poor respiration.
If you suffer from COPD and the symptoms have forced you out of work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Before you submit a claim, you should know the five signs you may be approved for disability benefits with COPD.
Meeting Non-Medical Requirements
Submitting a claim for disability benefits requires you to complete a detailed application. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denies claims that include applications that do not present correct information and/or have missing sections. The first non-medical requirement to get your claim approved is to submit an accurate and fully completed application.
You also have to meet the work credits standard established by the SSA. The SSA determines work credits based on wages or self-employment income. For 2020, a worker earned one work credit for every $1,410 generated in wages or income from self-employment. This means that if you earned $5,000 in 2020, you gained three work credits. The number of work credits you have to earn depends on your age at the time a physician diagnosed you with COPD.
Submit Convincing Medical Evidence
You should submit medical documents that present persuasive evidence that you suffer from COPD. Your doctor also needs to write up a summary that explains the severity of the symptoms. The following tests tell a comprehensive story about a patient who suffers from COPD.
- Lung function tests
- CT scan
- Chest x-ray
- Arterial blood gas analysis
Another document that can help you gain approval for your disability benefits claim is a prognosis written up by your physician. A prognosis tells the medical examiner team at the SSA whether your physician expects your symptoms to worsen or improve.
Prove You Missed Work
The SSA applies a minimum standard for the amount of time an applicant has missed work because of COPD symptoms. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you must demonstrate that you missed 12 consecutive months of work. Your employer can provide the SSA with evidence and you should submit bank statements that prove you have experienced a significant drop in income.
Meet the Blue Book Listing
As the resource guide used by the medical examiner team at the SSA, the Blue Book lists COPD as a chronic respiratory disorder in Section 3.02. However, it is not enough to prove you have COPD. Your symptoms must match the severity criteria as listed in the Blue Book. The SSA also might evaluate your workplace limitations by conducting a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. If the SSA requests you undergo an RFC assessment with its team of medical examiners, you should ask your physicians to conduct one as well to counterbalance any bias from the SSA.
Work with a Social Security Attorney
From helping you fully complete an accurate application to organizing the medical documents you need to submit with your claim, an experienced Social Security lawyer can make the difference between you gaining approval for your claim or having your claim come back denied by the SSA. Schedule a free case evaluation to determine if your claim is ready for a review by the SSA.