Social Security defines a person as disabled under the respiratory disease rules when the disease triggers attacks lasting more than one day, occurring at least six times a year, and requiring “intensive treatments” and follow up medical care.
Asthma is now called “Reactive Airway Disease” or RAD to distinguish it from the more chronic diseases. It is seen as a temporary inflammation of the bronchial lining. It can also cause chronic pulmonary insufficiencies such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or Chronic Restrictive Pulmonary disease.
These more chronic diseases are measured by tests called the FEV1 or FEV (forced expiratory volume). The qualification level for disability is dependent on age and weight. The tests measure how deeply you can breathe and blow. The results of these tests, along with information about restrictions of activities of daily living, help determine eligibility.
Many patients who receive regular private medical care may receive breathing treatments in doctors’ offices that qualify as “intensive treatment”. Others, with insurance support, may be able to administer such treatments at home. Emergency room treatment and hospitalization would be a rare occurrence for such a person, while it may be frequent for an underinsured person.
Detailed questioning is necessary to determine the exact severity of the asthma and the number of treatments which might qualify as “intensive” under this regulation.
It’s important to determine the side effects of the treatments. For many, a breathing treatment is followed by many hours of sleeping. If this occurs with any frequency, it clearly precludes full-time work.
Questions about this and other disabilities can be answered with a call to our office. Get a full evaluation of the possibilities of obtaining Social Security and SSI disability benefits for respiratory diseases.
AAAAI – American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology – Provides a ton of information about allergies and asthma, including pollen counts!
American Lung Association – Their site has an informative section on respiratory diseases that has useful tips on creating asthma-friendly environments
Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Listing for asthma and other respiratory diseases.