The Social Security Administration created and uses what has been named the “blue book” for professionals. This book contains a complete listing and description of every disorder by which a claimant may qualify for Social Security Disability. There are several respiratory disorders that are listed and considered to be disabling, if objective evidence exists. In other words, they must be proven by doctors’ notes, imaging, pulmonary function or lab tests, among other evidence.
One condition is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known as COPD. This consists of a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It, along with asthma, are the two most common respiratory disorders listed by disability claimants. Some others include pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, cystic fibrosis, and bronchiectasis. Also considered and evaluated under these listings are respiratory cancers, respiratory failure, and lung transplant, as well as the effects of neuromuscular and autoimmune disorders on the respiratory system.
The key to any claim based on respiratory conditions is a record of medical treatment. In situations where a claimant has been unable to obtain medical treatment due to financial means or insurance reasons, the Social Security Administration can schedule a consultative exam. This means the administration will pay for the claimant to attend a consultative visit with a doctor of their choosing in hopes that it will provide evidence by which a Judge can make an informed decision.
Many times an initial claim will be denied, then approved by attendance at an appeal hearing. However, the appeals process can be a long and confusing one that generally goes much smoother with the help of an attorney.