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Disability for Emphysema

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Is emphysema a disability?

Emphysema is a chronic lung condition that leads to shortness of breath. The alveoli (air sacs of the lungs) are damaged in people suffering from emphysema. Over time, the walls of the alveoli rupture from weakening, which creates fewer larger air spaces rather than multiple smaller ones.

The reduction in the number of alveoli result in a reduction of the surface area of the lungs in the individual. This creates a situation where less oxygen can reach the bloodstream. When a person with emphysema exhales, the affected alveoli to not work correctly and air remains trapped in the lungs leaving less room for new oxygen-rich air to fill the lungs.

An estimated 3.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with emphysema, and the number of deaths attributed to emphysema continues to increase. These statistics make this disease a serious cause for concern. If you suffer from this disease, you are entitled to receive social security disability for emphysema if you meet the SSA’s (Social Security Administration) listing requirements for chronic pulmonary insufficiency (COPD).

Understanding the symptoms and causes of emphysema

Chronic cough and shortness of breath are the two main emphysema symptoms that appear during the initial stages. In emphysema, a person feels shortness of breath (dyspnoea), and they are unable to catch their breath.

Symptoms begin during physical exertion, but as the disease progresses, shortness of breath might happen even without exertion. COPD and emphysema develop over many years. In the later stages of this chronic disease, a person might experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Frequent infections in the lungs
  • Mucus build up
  • Weight loss from reduced appetite
  • Sleep disorders
  • Difficulty breathing at night
  • Morning headaches from lack of oxygen
  • Bluish tinge on fingernail beds or lips (cyanosis) from a lack of oxygen

Several other conditions have similar symptoms as COPD and emphysema. Thus, it is crucial to get medical advice. Though there are multiple causes of emphysema, the primary cause is prolonged exposure to airborne dust particles or irritants.

Here are the four leading causes of emphysema disability:

  • Marijuana smoke
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Dust and chemical fumes

In rare cases, emphysema comes from an inherited protein deficiency that helps in protecting the elastic structure in the lungs. This form of the disease is known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency emphysema.

Can you get disability for emphysema?

Disability For EmphysemaIf an emphysema patient faces severe health issues and other circumstances that make their life extremely challenging, the Social Security Administration may approve their application. Many claims get automatic approval, given they meet the listing requirements for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

You can also get approval if your doctor states that your disease will get worse. The healthcare professional will also need to note that is not possible for you to do any job to earn a living.

To ensure your eligibility for emphysema disability benefits, the SSA will ask for a spirometry test which analyses the infection in your lungs. Many doctors order this test for their patients.

The Social Security Administration will ask to you to undergo a spirometry test under their doctor’s supervision once again to confirm your eligibility.  If you are found eligible, you can get disability for emphysema.

Why should you hire a disability lawyer for emphysema disability benefits? 

Having an experienced social security disability attorney by your side can be a huge help in securing disability benefits.

  • Making sure you have a strong case to receive the claim- It can be hard to determine whether you meet the COPD criteria without a social security disability attorney. Your attorney will help you to collect and review your medical records. They will clearly explain the restrictions and limitations needed to qualify based on the listing.

For instance, if you cannot work, walk, or stand for over an hour or two because of the physical exertion required, you may qualify for social security disability benefits. The attorney will be of help in getting the right documentation to strengthen your claim.

  • Aiding you if your claim is denied- In case your claim for benefits due to emphysema is denied, your attorney will help you with the appeals process. They will work to prove that you deserve the benefits as you are unable to earn a substantial gainful income as a result of your condition. It is possible to receive a medical-vocational allowance based on your age, medical condition, educational background, and work history.

When the claim gets denied, your attorney will help you make an appeal to request a hearing in front of an ALJ (administrative law judge). A vocational expert will ask questions to determine your functional capability. The questions can range from ‘does wheezing impact your functional ability?’ to ‘do you feel breathless when standing or walking?’ and so on. A knowledgeable attorney will prepare you for the questions beforehand.

Hire a disability lawyer from Berke Law Firm, P.A. to seek SSD benefits for your condition. Discuss your case with our attorney and we will help you to better understand the process and the strength of your case. We are the experienced disability law firm on whom you can rely on for legal expertise. Our legal team will work with you through the entire process from filing the application to receiving the benefits.

Commonly Asked Questions about SSD benefits for emphysema

  1. Does emphysema qualify for disability?

You might meet the SSA’s listing requirements for COPD if you suffer from severe emphysema. Your condition must be serious enough for the doctor to have placed so many restrictions on what you can do, that there are essentially no jobs you are able to perform.

  1. Will I need to get the spirometry test again if I claim the benefits?

Your doctor might have given you the spirometry test before, but you will have to undergo a new exam under the SSA. The SSA will have one of its own doctors perform your test to check your present rate of breathing.

  1. Can I get disability benefits for emphysema if I’m 30?

Disability benefits for emphysema can be secured at any age, based on the severity of your conditions. However, a young person with moderate emphysema might find it harder to secure the benefits than an older person.