Breathing Problems and Social Security Disability Options
As general rule, how disabling an illness or injury is in terms of your daily activities and ability to perform work will be more important for Social Security Disability benefits than the specific illness or condition in question. Total disability guidelines are fairly uniform, but it is often more difficult to establish a respiratory illness as qualifying for benefits than other health-related issues.
For total disability, you must not be able to perform work that you performed before. In addition, you must be unable to adjust to new work for someone of your education level, and you must be suffering from a disability that’s expected to last at least a year or which could end in your death. However, for a respiratory illness, there are other requirements. You must document your illness and how it has directly impacted your work for at least a year. Ideally, you should have assistance from your doctor while doing so.
Your doctor can help monitor and document your difficulties while attempting to work. Once you have received treatment, you will also need to demonstrate that, while following your doctor’s recommendations, you have continued to be unable to perform meaningful work for at least a year. As you can see, this means that documentation alone for a respiratory illness can take a considerable amount of time. Commonly, you’ll be looking at well over a year before you will hear any confirmation on your potential benefits. While the general guidelines for total disability are fairly consistent, the specifics for certain respiratory illnesses can vary.
For asthma, you’ll have to have at least one attack every two months (six a year). Asthma attacks that result in hospitalization count as two. When it comes to emphysema, you will need to clearly demonstrate that you are following your doctor’s advice. For smokers, that generally means giving up smoking altogether, not simply cutting back. You will also have to show that you are taking any medications or receiving other treatments as prescribed.
With restrictive lung disease (RDL), you may be able to show evidence that it was due to a bacterial or viral infection. If that’s not the case, RDL is sometimes due to exposure to harmful substances, and this is often work-related. Any materials that you can provide to that effect would be helpful. You will still have to show that your RDL makes it impossible for you to do any meaningful work, but prior medical or legal information to support your case can be tremendously beneficial. You will still have to follow your doctor’s recommendations. In some instances, there are stroke-related respiratory problems. Obviously, you should provide medical proof of the stroke, but you’ll still need to demonstrate that your lung capacity is insufficient and that your respiratory problems impact your daily life and ability to work. Be sure to keep a log of any shortness of breath or other ongoing issues.
Since the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants at least one recorded year, that means that starting your claims process needs to be done sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the longer it will take to see any benefits. When looking for a disability lawyer in Boise, you should make sure that they have prior experience with disability cases and with Social Security claims. Disability can be a technically complex issue, and people without previous experience or a medical background can find it very challenging. Finding a qualified attorney to represent you is a big step in the right direction.