October 21, 2009

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Social Security Benefits

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can be recognized as a severe disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  Indiana residents experiencing a severe lung impairment can attempt to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits by filing an initial claim. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is listed under the Social Security Administration’s medical Listing of Impairments known as Respiratory System (Listing 3.02). Impairments caused by COPD disorders generally produce irreversible loss of pulmonary function due to: 

  • gas exchange abnormalities,
  • chest_xray.JPGventilatory impairments, or
  • a combination of both.

The most common symptoms include:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • sputum production (phlegm)
  • dyspnea on exertion (shortness of breath)
  • hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • chest pain

Because the above symptoms are common symptoms among other diseases, it will be necessary to have a thorough medical examination, medical history and chest x-rays or other imaging tests in order to establish COPD .  It may even be required for more sophisticated pulmonary function testing to determine if gas exchange abnormalities contribute to the severity of a respiratory impairment. The severity of the impairment may be determined by further evaluation.  Additional testing might include measurement of diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide or resting arterial blood gases.

If you find yourself unable to work due to a breathing impairment, it is important to seek medical attention, take appropriate medications, and keep detailed records when attempting to obtain Social Security disability benefits. 

If you have any questions regarding obtaining Social Security disability benefits for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or any other impairment, contact Indianapolis Social Security Disability Attorney Scott D. Lewis at (317) 423-8888 for a free consultation. 

 

 

Filed under:Qualifying Disabilities and Impairments
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