Emphysema symptoms are similar to those of sarcoidosis, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis and various lung diseases which may make it difficult for individuals to work.
Emphysema is a chronic lung disease where small sacs inside of the lungs called alveoli become damaged. The alveoli are responsible for transferring oxygen into the body and forcing carbon dioxide out of the body, so damage to them will deteriorate one’s breathing ability. As the condition becomes more severe, the alveoli are destroyed to a greater extent and breathing becomes more difficult. Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for emphysema, but its progress can be slowed down with some treatment and precautionary measures.
Emphysema Diagnosis and Social Security Disability benefits
There isn’t a specific listing for this disease in the Social Security Administration’s Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (its official list of eligible impairments, also known as the Blue Book). However, emphysema falls into the “obstructive airway disease” category listed under Section 3.00, which covers Respiratory System Impairments. When determining eligibility for Emphysema Disability, the SSA checks the severity of the condition and the applicant’s ability to perform daily movements, tasks, and walking. They also check the degree to which these abilities are limited.
To qualify for benefits, individuals should be clinically diagnosed with emphysema. They will need to show medical records which meet the Blue Book criteria. The Blue Book listing is complicated and extensive, which makes it more difficult to prove the individual’s condition without an emphysema diagnosis.
Claimants must provide their full treatment history, which should include continuous medical and clinical records such as descriptions of treatment and their response to that treatment over time. Since emphysema shares common symptoms with various other diseases, SSA also checks the medical history of the claimant. Documentation of a chest X-ray, physical examination, and other diagnostic testing are needed to establish proof of this chronic pulmonary disease.
How does SSDI deal with an Emphysema Disability Case?
If the claimant has emphysema so severe that they are unable to show up at work or handle their daily tasks efficiently, they may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability benefits. However, it may be difficult to show that emphysema has caused the applicant total disability. In any case, under the Social Security Disability Rules after Age 50, emphysema patients age 50 and older likely have a better chance of approval.
Hence, those wishing to apply for benefits should seek the help of a Social Security disability representative, who can contact the appropriate medical professionals to collect the proof and documents needed to support their disability claim. This will help to ensure that the individual’s emphysema disability case has a good chance of success.
Medical evidence for supporting emphysema disability claim
There are several medical documents used for supporting a disability claim for emphysema. In many cases, individuals have to go through various breathing tests. They also need to provide details of their treatments. The SSA officials also check whether or not the claimants have responded to the treatment given to them, and check notes from the individual’s physicians regarding their condition and details of their limitations and restrictions and how it is affecting them.
In a nutshell, a disability applicant needs to provide necessary details of their records from the pulmonologist and the physician. Before approving the application, the SSA needs to see details of the applicant’s lung condition and review their physical examinations. Individuals need to give copies of any test results identifying their condition. The claimant may even need to go through several additional tests to confirm the severity and diagnosis of their condition.
Additionally, claimants must provide test results for their pulse oximetry levels, arterial blood gas, imaging including CT scans and chest X-rays along with records of supplemental oxygen levels. Common tests done for emphysema disability claims include DLCO, FEV1, ABG tests, FVC levels, and pulse oximetry. They may also provide other records such as hospitalization details.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits
Individuals who are unable to meet the criteria of the listing featured in the Blue Book can qualify for benefits of disability using a medical vocational allowance. To make this determination, the SSA assesses what is known as the applicant’s Residual Functional Capacity, and the larger picture of the scenario is considered. Factors such as the applicant’s symptoms, medical conditions, limitations, side effects, age, restrictions, age, transferable skills, educational background, and work history help the concerned authorities to determine the exact conditions of emphysema.
An agency known as Disability Determination Services reviews the entire details of the condition to make a complete determination of the applicant’s Residual Functional Capacity. Claimants can also include statements from others who have suffered from this condition or are familiar with it. They can better confirm the seriousness of the medical issues affecting the claimant. Additionally, former co-workers and supervisors can provide details of the changes in the work performance of the person suffering from emphysema.