Is Asthma A Disability?

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Yes. Under both the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504, a disability is any mental and physical impairment that restricts life activities. According to the ADA, asthma and allergies are both considered disabilities.

Many people diagnosed with asthma ask whether the condition is a disability or not. To be clear, asthma is considered a disabling condition under Section 3.03 of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease in which the airways become inflamed, narrow, or swollen, thereby producing additional mucus and potentially causing problems with breathing. If you ever experience symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, you should immediately get evaluated by a doctor. 

There are five types of asthma. It can be challenging to determine which type you have without a medical evaluation. Following are the five types:

  • exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB)
  • allergic asthma
  • cough-variant asthma
  • occupational asthma
  • nocturnal or nighttime asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can lead to irreversible scarring of the lungs. Therefore, it is crucial to start medical treatment as soon as possible to ensure that your asthma condition does not worsen.

You must meet the eligibility conditions to receive disability benefits for asthma under Blue Book criteria. The SSA will consider the limitations and symptoms you are experiencing. Based on the severity of your condition, the SSA will determine your eligibility. Special eligibility rules may apply for disability for those over 50 years old.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Uncontrolled Asthma Can Lead To Serious ComplicationsA proper diagnosis from a medical specialist is the first step to determining the best course of action. Following are some of the common signs and symptoms of asthma. Consider these as warning signs, and see a doctor immediately if you experience them:

  • Uncontrollable coughing
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Wheezing 
  • Sweating and anxiety
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms require immediate medical attention and treatment and should not be left uncontrolled. Symptoms may vary for every individual, depending upon various factors like genetics, co-occurring medical conditions, and overall health.

Can you get disability for asthma?

In the United States, there are more than 24 million people who have asthma, causing them problems with coughing, wheezing, and breathing. Asthma attacks can be recurring and sudden. If your severe disability for asthma is preventing you from doing any work, you can file a disability claim to seek the SSDI benefits.

Asthma is a chronic condition that may lead to the contraction of the bronchial tubes. You will have to meet the requirements below to get approved for asthma Social Security disability:

  1. Your FEV (forced expiratory volume) should be as stated in SSA’s Blue Book listing table, which depends on your age, height, and weight; and
  2. Complications must have required three hospitalizations within 12 months that were at least 30 days apart. Each hospitalization must have lasted at least 48 hours.

The medical records should contain the following:

  • Pulmonary function tests 
  • Lab and diagnostic tests
  • Medical history 
  • Physical examination report
  • Scanned images 
  • List of treatments prescribed by your healthcare provider
  • Hospital visits details 

Symptoms may worsen over time. Therefore, you must get proper treatment and gather all relevant medical evidence. The SSA will use your medical documents to evaluate the severity of your condition and determine whether it meets Blue Book criteria.

What benefits can you apply for asthma?

You should ideally have complete medical evidence to validate your disability. If you don’t have extensive documentation, the expert is likely to deny your claim for asthma due to lack of evidence. Additionally, be sure to stay in touch with your medical health care provider about treatment and recovery. 

Asthma can cause damage to your lungs and may make it difficult to live without support. Therefore, you should follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment and medications to improve your chances of recovery. Filing a claim for SSDI or SSI for asthma is one way to cope. For some, disability payment is needed to continue normal daily life and avoid serious financial hardship.

When should you seek medical attention for asthma disability?

If you have asthma symptoms, it is important to see a specialist immediately. An asthma inhaler or nebulizer may help improve your symptoms. Long-term and severe asthma attacks can also lead to anxiety issues. Seek emergency treatment if you have the following symptoms: 

  • Extreme difficulty in breathing
  • Severe chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing while walking or talking
  • Bluish tint to the skin

These symptoms can be triggered by several factors, including cold air, cold viruses, airborne irritants, allergies, exercise, and even emotional upset. There are even instances where asthma attacks occur for no clear reason.

Asthma symptoms can be treated effectively with proper medication and lifestyle changes. However, in some limited cases, patients may continue to experience disability from asthma attacks even after receiving treatment. 

Many people apply for short-term disability for asthma when the condition restricts their ability to engage in full-time employment or normal activities of daily living.

What is the aftermath of uncontrollable asthma?

Believe it or not, asthma can be a life-changing disease, with the potential to make a person partially or completely disabled. It is a chronic condition wherein a person’s lungs and airways become inflamed, narrow, and swollen, and produce extra mucus which makes it even more difficult to breathe.

Many asthmatics face trouble due to breathlessness, wheezing, even needing to gasp for air. If a person is experiencing an asthma episode or attack, it is due to constricted and inflamed airways.

What are the long-term complications of asthma?

Asthma can negatively affect your health and may lead to complications in the long term. Each symptom can affect your health condition in different ways. There is no cure for the condition, but you can minimize and prevent symptoms with the help of prescription medication and lifestyle changes.

Following are some of the long-term complications that may arise because of asthma:

  • Airway and lung damage: Also known as airway remodeling, it is a long-term complication that may lead to irreversible scarring of the lungs and airways.
  • Disrupted sleep schedule: Asthma restricts airways and can have serious consequences like insomnia. It may lead to nighttime coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness. The condition can potentially interfere with someone’s ability to get restful sleep.
  • Pregnancy complications: Pregnant women with severe, uncontrolled asthma may experience serious complications. This may pose a threat to both the mother and the child. 
  • Severe asthma exacerbations: Uncontrolled asthma can lead to severe exacerbations or attacks. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be required to treat the condition. The patient may have to use a rescue inhaler several times a day.
  • Increased risk of infection: Patients diagnosed with asthma are at a higher risk of developing pneumonia. This can occur after lung damage or due to weakness of the lung tissue. You should take precautionary measures and consult your doctor for treatment. 
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Asthma symptoms also increase the risk of developing GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Asthma may also make a pre-existing diagnosis of GERD worse and irritate your lungs and airways.

Due to difficulty with performing vigorous physical activity, asthma may also contribute to obesity and other weight-related problems if not treated properly.

Contact us for help on your disability case

Having relevant medical and other documents to prove asthma disability is vital. Even family members may face many difficulties trying to support someone with a severe disability. By hiring an experienced disability attorney, you will gain an ally that can handle everything on your behalf and help you file a claim or appeal.


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