Living with COPD: Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) makes it harder to breathe, meaning day-to-day tasks are more challenging than they once were. Your condition may warrant Social Security Disability benefits, but it’s not a guarantee. According to SocialSecurity-Disability.org, several factors are taken into account when determining your eligibility.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) groups COPD under Section 3.00: Respiratory System. In this way, COPD is categorized as an “obstructive airway disease,” alongside bronchitis and emphysema.
Determining Your Eligibility for Social Security Benefits
The SSA only divvies out benefits to those with a severe enough condition. To determine this, the SSA:
- Asks to see medical records that establish your COPD diagnosis
- Asks for documentation citing your COPD symptoms and their severity
- Requires details about treatment history, current treatments and how you're responding over time
- Takes a look at your ability to perform daily tasks, walk and move around
- Considers how your symptoms limit your daily function
Increasing Your Chances for Approval
If your COPD is becoming more severe and you believe you deserve Social Security Disability benefits, the SSA recommends you do the following:
- Work closely with a qualified Social Security Disability attorney to ensure you provide the correct documentation needed for approval.
- Hold on to your detailed medical history, physical exam documents, chest X-rays and MRI and CT scan records to thoroughly establish your COPD diagnosis.
- Ask your doctor to provide you with detailed records of your treatment type, length of treatment and how you're responding. These records should be thorough enough that the SSA can determine the severity of your COPD and how your daily functions are being affected.
- Have pulmonary function testing performed to objectively quantify your condition. The SSA wants hard numbers and facts, not unproved opinions and grievances.
At the end of this process, you're most likely to receive Social Security Disability benefits if your condition prevents you from working.
Don’t let living with COPD get in the way of enjoying your life! For information about the most important questions to ask your doctor if you’ve recently been diagnosed with COPD, download the free guide, "9 Questions to Ask Your Physician" today.