Ever since the SSA had first introduced its first listing of Compassionate Allowances conditions, more and more conditions have been being added to the list. The Compassionate Allowances program allows those who suffer severely debilitating diseases to be awarded benefits in a matter of weeks, rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin. As each new condition is added, it’s another victory for the people who suffer from the particular ailment that is being included. The latest condition to be added to the Compassionate Allowances listings is a rare lung disease known as Obliterative Bronchiolitis (also known as constrictive bronchitis and bronchiolitis obliterans).
Obliterative Bronchiolitis is a very rare, irreversible and life-threatening disease that affects the lungs. The disease is usually caused by exposure to toxic fumes that have permanently damaged the lungs’ airways. Unfortunately there is no cure for the condition. Another thing that makes this disease so devastating is that it is affecting those who have fought for our country – our veterans who were in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The veterans who are suffering from this disease blame the condition on the open air burn pits that they were exposed to on the military bases. While toxic waste was indeed burned in these pits, the VA is not yet convinced that the burn pits actually contribute to the development of the disease. Fortunately, regardless of the VA’s reluctance to associate the burn pits with Obliterative Bronchiolitis, the SSA has stepped up to the plate and has recognized the severity of the condition. As a result, the SSA has now included this rare lung disease in its listing of Compassionate Allowances, which will allow these veterans (and others who suffer from the disease) to receive benefits in a matter of weeks, bypassing the standard disability and appeal process.
When a person develops Obliterative Bronchiolitis, the disease causes scar tissue to develop in the bronchioles of the lungs which causes obstructions and/or narrowing of the lungs’ passageways, making it hard to breathe. Oftentimes individuals who suffer from this condition must undergo a lung transplant in order to survive. In some cases, the disease is fatal. It is important to note that the damage to the lungs is not reversible and there is no cure for the condition.
It is easy to understand why the SSA would include this condition in their Compassionate Allowances program, considering the severely debilitating and life-threatening nature of the condition. If you or someone you know is suffering from this disease, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible. You may be able to begin receiving benefits in as little as a few weeks.