Disability for Pulmonary Fibrosis

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Does Pulmonary Fibrosis Qualify for Disability Benefits?


Our health plays a critical role in our quality of life. In 2019, around 69.1 million applicants received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). A medical condition may affect our ability to perform normal everyday tasks and can hinder our abilities to work and function properly. 

The SSA has a program that provides financial assistance from the government to individuals who are suffering from a disabling medical condition. If you are no longer able to work due to a severe physical or mental health condition and are in need of financial assistance, you may get approved for disability benefits. One example of a disabling condition that an applicant may be experiencing is pulmonary fibrosis.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a chronic lung condition that is caused by scarred or damaged lung tissue. The condition leads to worsening shortness of breath. An individual diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis may find it difficult to work because of difficulty breathing and other problems. 

The condition is incurable and worsens over time, but medications and other treatment may be available to help symptoms. The condition does not have a separate listing in the SSA’s listing of disabling medical conditions, known as the Blue Book, but an individual can still get disability benefits. Before discussing disability for pulmonary Fibrosis, we will discuss common symptoms and the extent to which it can be treated. 

Pulmonary Fibrosis: Symptoms and Treatment 

An individual diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis may experience the following symptoms: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Hacking cough
  • Fatigue
  • Aching joints and muscles
  • Extreme feeling of tiredness
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Clubbing (widening and rounding of the tips of the fingers)

Scarring is permanent. Those diagnosed with the condition may find it challenging to live with. The options available to treat the disease are also very limited. Some studies have found that there is no evidence that medications can help meaningfully reduce the symptoms of the condition. In severe cases, lungs may be so damaged that a lung transplantation may be required. 

Is Pulmonary Fibrosis a Disability?

It can be complicated for an individual to work and live normally when the lungs are damaged. An individual’s body will not get the oxygen it requires, making it difficult to work. Although pulmonary fibrosis does not have its own listing in the Blue Book, the Social Security Administration would assess eligibility requirements by applying Section 3.00 of the Blue Book for Respiratory Disorders. 

If your application includes medical documentation that meets the criteria in the listing, you may be approved for disability benefits. A knowledgeable attorney can also discuss with you the alternative options for obtaining disability benefits when you do not meet the eligibility criteria. Continue reading to learn more about the eligibility criteria to receive disability benefits for pulmonary fibrosis.  

You will have to show the following things to prove that you meet the criteria: 

  • Reduced FEV (forced expiratory volume) or
  • Reduced FVC (forced vital capacity)

You will need medical documentation and a lung function test to measure your FEV and FVC levels. Therefore, if you are applying for disability benefits, you may want to undergo the necessary tests to record both values. 

If You Do Not Meet the Listing Criteria for Pulmonary Fibrosis 

When you do not meet the listing criteria, the Social Security Administration will assess your residual functional capacity (RFC). They will determine the work and tasks you can still perform in spite of your disabilities. 

The RFC assessment will include the amount of strength-related work you can perform, such as tasks that require pushing or pulling. If you are highly educated or have transferable skills, or can acquire new skills, it may be challenging to be approved for benefits based on your RFC because the SSA may decide you are capable of alternative work. 

You may be approved if your RFC score is low. The SSA will consider your age, educational qualifications, and skills as part of your RFC assessment. Your RFC is generally divided into different categories based on the work you can perform. 

You may need to have a RFC form completed by a healthcare provider. Ensure that all symptoms have been listed. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to be approved for disability benefits without medical documentation of a diagnosed condition, treatment history, and symptoms. Therefore, you must also focus on gathering medical evidence related to any conditions you have mentioned in your application for benefits. 

Fatigue and shortness of breath often make it challenging to handle various tasks. Therefore, when you have severe pulmonary fibrosis, you may no longer be able to maintain gainful employment. To apply for disability Benefits Over 50, you have to first understand special rules that are applicable to older people.

Can You Get Disability Benefits for Pulmonary Fibrosis?

You can get disability benefits if you can show medical evidence to prove your disability. Without medical evidence, the SSA will deny your application. The SSA requires medical records to understand the severity of your condition. You should document all your medical evidence in a file and be prepared to show them to the SSA. 

An application should include the following types of medical evidence: 

  • The list of medical conditions that the applicant is experiencing
  • Medical documentation, to include physical examinations and diagnostic tests that measure the severity of the condition(s)
  • Record of treatment, medication, and therapies tried to reduce the symptoms
  • A list of any physical limitations

You should have evidence of how long you have been suffering from the condition. Make sure to provide all relevant documents up front to increase your chances of getting disability benefits. Hiring a reputable Social Security Disability Attorney can be of great help when applying for disability benefits. They will take care of everything throughout the process.

How Long Does It Take To Be Approved for Benefits? 

The time it takes to receive a decision on a disability application completely depends on the accuracy of the application and the evidence provided. When you have provided all evidence, it may take a few months. In general, it can take anywhere from three months to more than a year. 

There are two reasons why most applications get rejected: 

  • Lack of medical evidence
  • Incomplete application form

An applicant must ensure that they provide all information required by the application form along with medical evidence. Submitting a complete application may increase your chances of getting pulmonary fibrosis disability benefits. 

The Benefits can help those struggling financially. They can help you live a better life without becoming totally dependent on friends or family. Contact an attorney for assistance with your disability application.