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Social Security Disability Benefits For Asthma
I have been diagnosed with asthma. Can I apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSI/SSDI), Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), or Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI)?
Getting a diagnosis of asthma is only the beginning of your Social Security disability claim. The main focus is usually on the symptoms you experience from asthma and how those symptoms affect your ability to engage in physical and mental work-related activities eight (8) hours per day, five (5) days per week.
Asthma is the chronic (long-term) inflammation and narrowing of your airways. It causes persistent coughing especially at night and early morning, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. It is a very common illness at any age, but most patients develop it during childhood.
Doctors have not yet found the exact cause of asthma. Even the triggers of asthma attacks are varied, including allergens in animal fur, pollen, and the like; dust; cigarette smoke; certain medicines; and viral infections. There is also no specific cure for asthma as of now. However, it can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.
While many asthma patients eventually overcome this condition, a severe case of asthma can restrict your daily activities. There are also cases where asthma symptoms get serious enough to be fatal.
Is Asthma Classed as a Disability?
Is your asthma disabling you? The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate this using a five-stepprocess:
Step 1. Do you have a gainful activity?
At the first step, the SSA considers your work activity. If you are engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) you will not be found disabled. The amount you must earn to be working at SGA changes each year. For 2018, it is $1,180 per month if you are not blind and $1,970 per month if you are blind. If you are working, and your earnings average more than the SGA limit, then you will not be found disabled. If you are not working, or your earnings are less than SGA, the process proceeds to Step 2 where your asthma and any other physical or mental conditions are considered.
Step 2. Can your asthma be considered “severe”?
For the SSA to determine that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities such as sitting; standing;walking; lifting; carrying; understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple instructions; making simple work-related decisions; responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and work stress; and dealing with changes in a routine work setting.
To be found disabled, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or a combination of impairments) that is severe and has lasted or is expected last one (1) year or end in death. If your medical condition is not that severe, you will not be found to meet the requirements for Social Security disability benefits. If your condition is that severe, the SSA goes to Step 3.
Step 3. Does your asthma satisfy an SSA listing?
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical criteria that are considered so severe that you will be found disabled if your medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) matches them.The Adult Listing for asthma can be found here.
If you donot have an impairment that meets or equals oneof the listings, or if the duration requirement is not met, the SSA determines what you’re capable of doing despite your impairments – your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) – and will proceed to Step 4.
RFC is a function-by-function assessment of your maximum ability to do sustained work-related physical and mental activities on a regular and continuing basis (8 hours a day, for 5 days a week) despite the limitations and restrictions resulting from your medically determinable impairments.In short, it is an evaluation of your capacity for full-time work.
Step 4. Are you still able to perform any of your work from the last fifteen (15) years?
At this step, the SSA decides if your medical condition prevents you from being able to work full-time at jobs you have done in the past fifteen (15) years. If the SSA decides you can perform any of your past relevant work (PRW), you will be found not disabled. To be PRW, the work must have been substantial gainful activity(SGA); performed in the fifteen (15) year relevant period; and performed long enough to learn the job. If the SSA decides you cannot perform your past relevant work, or you have not worked in the past fifteen (15) years, the SSA goes on to Step 5.
You have the burden of proof at Step 4, which means you must present evidence. Two of the strongest types of evidence at this stage are medical records and the opinions of the doctors who are treating you for the conditions that are affecting your ability to work. The strongest medical evidence is what is known as objective medical evidence, or evidence that does not rely upon what you tell your doctors. The strongest opinions are opinions that are offered by doctors who specialize in the condition that is keeping you from working and which are supported by objective medical evidence.
Some types of objective medical evidence that can support a claim for disability based upon asthma include:
- Hospital, emergency facility and/or physician records indicating the dates of treatment
- Clinical and laboratory findings, such as the results of spirometry and arterial blood gas studies (ABGS)
- Treatment administered
- Time period required for treatment
- Clinical response.
Doctors who specialize in treating asthma include:
- Allergists/Immunologists –doctors who focus on allergic diseases
- Pulmonologists – specialists in diseases concerning the lungs and breathing.
If you are only treating with your family doctor or primary care doctor for your asthma, the SSA may interpret this as meaning that your condition is not that serious (otherwise you would be treating with a specialist). An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you locate sources of treatment (even if you don’t have health insurance).
Step 5. Can you perform any other work?
At Step 5, the “burden of proof” shifts to the SSA. If you cannot do your past relevant work, the SSA looks to see if you would be able to do other work. It evaluates your medical condition, your age,education, past work experience, and any skills you may have that could be used to do other work. If you can do other work, the SSA will determine you are not disabled. If you cannot do other work, the SSA will find you disabled.
After age 50, there are special rules that may apply to your claim that can result in a finding of disability even if there is some other work you could perform on a full-time basis. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer will be familiar with these rules and can ensure that they are considered in the evaluation of your case.
Can u get a disability check for asthma?
Because asthma is so common, the SSA may be strict in evaluating applications based on this condition. Don’t let this discourage you. Whether you are applying for the first time or appealing a previously-denied application, you may still have a good chance to receive disability benefits.
Contact Gillette Law Group
We at the Gillette Law Group can help you do this. For many years now, we have been assisting disability claimants and enabling them to pursue effective applications. With our legal service, you can have an increased likelihood to get approved by the SSA.
Don’t wait to pursue your Social Security disability claim. We provide you with a free consultation, so talk to us today at (855) 873-2604.