Disability Insurance and Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the lungs involving the airways. It is a common lung condition which causes difficulties breathing. In asthmatic persons, the airways are always inflamed; they become even more inflamed and swollen when something triggers symptoms. Often these triggers are related to physical activity and substances in the environment. About 26 million Americans are living with asthma symptoms, and it represents one of the leading causes of work and school absenteeism. Suspected causes include environmental and genetic factors which render a person susceptible to the disease. Asthma may be allergic or non-allergic depending on the cause. While allergic asthma is caused by exposure to allergens, non-allergic asthma is caused by illnesses, stress, irritants, etc. Common symptoms of the condition include coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, trouble breathing and recurrent wheezing. Symptoms can occur anytime; mild episodes may last few hours, and severe symptoms may extend for hours or days though most symptoms are usually persistent. It is a long-term condition which may improve and remain constant throughout life. Asthma may lead to several complications including psychological problems, lung infections and delays in growth or puberty (in children). Asthma has no cure; however, there are several ways of managing its symptoms. Treatments for asthma include identifying and avoiding triggers and making use of reliever/preventer inhalers and oral medications. With proper treatment, most people can live healthy and active lives. 

Getting disability benefits for Asthma 

Social Security lists Asthma under section 3.00 of the Blue Book for ailments of the respiratory system as one of the conditions that qualify a person for disability benefits. For Asthma associated with chronic asthmatic bronchitis, the SSA makes evaluation using the same criteria for obstructive pulmonary diseases in Section 3.02A of the Blue Book. The SSA assesses your condition based on your ability to perform daily functions, your functional limitations and the extent to which treatments affect you. To qualify, you must prove that you have been clinically diagnosed with asthma and that your condition prevents you engaging in any gainful employment. Claimants will only qualify if they have prolonged and severe asthma which requires (1)intravenous bronchodilator (2)antibiotic administration (3)prolonged inhalation bronchodilator therapy in a hospital or similar setting. The SSA also requires that in spite prescribed treatment, an attack must occur at least once a month or six times a year. All episodes must require the attention of a physician. Noteworthy is the fact that the SSA considers in-patient hospitalization which has lasted longer than 24 hours as two separate attacks. Claimants must ensure to include all relevant medical information include tests, results, treatments and your doctor’s report. Good documentation is key to winning disability benefits with the SSA. 

Getting a Medical Vocational Allowance for Asthma 

If you do not qualify for disability benefits under the listing for asthma, the SSA will still consider you for benefits. However, the SSA will conduct an RFC assessment to determine what you can do in spite of your disability. If your condition prevents you from doing heavy work or working around smoke, fumes or dust, the SSA will include all these in your job restrictions automatically ruling out a number of jobs that you can do. Depending on other factors such as age, work experience, and skills, the SSA will recommend jobs you may still be able to do. You will qualify for disability benefits if the there are no jobs you can do with your disability. You should work in tandem with your disability lawyer and doctor to build a strong case and increase your chances of getting benefits.