Over 18 million American adults have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The Foundation reveals that not only do those with asthma suffer great physical discomfort but also great financial burdens because of their asthma. The cost of medications, doctor visits, and hospital stays can reach into the thousands of dollars for each asthma sufferer. Many with asthma also find it difficult to work and have to miss a lot of days and lose pay.
If you are one of those who have been diagnosed with asthma and it is affecting your ability to work, there is hope for your situation. You could be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits if you meet certain criteria.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory lung disease that constricts or narrows a person’s airways making it difficult for them to breathe. The constriction or narrowing of their airways is usually triggered by an outside irritant such as:
- strong odors
- extreme cold or hot temperatures
- physical exertion
These irritants cause the person’s airways to tighten or to swell and fill with liquid and sticky mucus. Asthmatic episodes can cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing. The episodes can be a rare occurrence or severely chronic. Chronic asthma is typically associated with conditions such as chronic asthmatic bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, or severe allergies.
There is no cure for asthma. But, it can be treated by medications or inhalers that help relax airways and reduce inflammation.
SSDI and Asthma
Chronic asthma is listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of severe medically determinable impairments. This list gives SSA workers criteria for determining a claimant’s eligibility for SSDI benefits. Caseworkers must incorporate each listings criteria into the 5 step process SSA uses to determine a claimant’s eligibility.
Individuals filing an SSDI claim for chronic asthma must go to the following process:
- Determine if the claimant is working at or above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as defined by the SSA in the year they file. The SGA level for 2017 is a monthly income of $1170.
- Determine if the claimant’s problems with chronic asthma significantly limits their ability to perform basic work activities such as:
- pulling or pushing
- lifting or carrying
- simple cognitive reasoning
- Determine if claimant’s chronic asthma meets the criteria outlined in the SSA’s impairments list. The impairment list says the claimant must show medical proof they had been diagnosed with chronic asthma. The claimant must also meet the following requirements:
- Must have had at least three asthmatic episodes in a one-year period that required hospitalization. Each hospitalization must have lasted at least 48 hours (including time in the emergency room) and have occurred at least 30 days apart.
- Must have an FEV1 breathing test level that meets the SSA asthma standard for their age, gender, and height. Those with chronic asthmatic bronchitis must meet the SSA’s FEV1 standard for those with COPD.
- Determine if the claimant can still do any work they may have done in the past despite difficulties involving their chronic asthma.
- Determine if the claimant can do any other type of work based upon their:
- prior work experience
- mental and physical capabilities
Getting Help with Your Claim
Has your doctor diagnosed you with chronic asthma? Is it affecting your ability to work? You could be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
But, getting approved for benefits can be a complicated process. You will need to have detailed medical records of your problems with chronic asthma and evidence of how it affects your daily life. Then you will need to complete all the necessary SSA forms proving the legitimacy of your claim.
You should not let the complexity of the process stop you from filing a claim. One of our experienced SSDI lawyers can guide you through the process. Contact us for a free evaluation of your situation and let our family help your family.