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How to Apply for Disability Benefits with COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disorder making it hard to breathe normally and maintain normal blood oxygen levels. It is also a progressive disease, meaning there is no cure for COPD. In addition to severe breathing problems, people with COPD also suffer recurring respiratory infections, fatigue, chest pain and swelling in the hands, feet and ankles. Treatment for early to middle stage COPD include bronchodilators, steroidal inhalers and medications to reduce airway inflammation. Applying Social Security disability criteria for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease involves learning what the SSA’s Blue Book of Medical Conditions lists as qualifying symptoms.

Under What Category is COPD Found in the Blue Book?

COPD is listed as a “respiratory disorder” causing obstruction or restriction of air moving in and out of the lungs. In addition to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory disorders such as emphysema, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary fibrosis and asthma are also conditions that may qualify for disability benefits.

What Documentation is Needed to Apply for COPD Disability Benefits?

People with COPD who apply for SSD or SSI will need to submit results of a spirometry. A test used to evaluate lung functioning, a spirometry quantifies the rate of airflow going in and out of the lungs. The expiratory forced vital capacity (FVC) and the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) are key factors indicating the severity of an applicant’s COPD.

The SSA has requirements governing spirometry testing. You must be stable medically at the time of the spirometry test and you should not have had a respiratory infection within the past month prior to undergoing a spirometry test. In addition, a spirometry test should not be given to COPD patients applying for disability if they experienced a heart attack or were hospitalized 30 days before testing.

Do I Need to Contact a Disability Attorney to Apply for SSD or SSI?

Before submitting an application for disability, consider talking to an experienced disability attorney at Clauson Law. Forgetting to include just one medical specific document or failing to fill out SSA papers correctly will result in your application being denied. We understand how overwhelming it can be to deal with a mountain of papers and documents that need read, completed and returned in a timely manner. Let us help you get the financial assistance you deserve. Call today to schedule an appointment.

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