November is COPD Awareness Month. COPD afflicts millions of Americans and affects their ability to work, engage in activities, and overall quality of life. COPD is caused by a variety of factors, including smoking, work environments, and a variety of respiratory or lung diseases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more commonly known as COPD, is a condition that may drastically reduce a person's ability not only to breathe properly, but also to engage in many types of activities. COPD can affect a person's ability to walk, push or pull, reach for items, carry anything, or (in severe cases) even speak.
A person can apply for Social Security Disability benefits when diagnosed with COPD as long as they follow the five-step process that qualifies them for such benefits.
Five-Step Social Security Disability Insurance Qualification Process
In order to qualify for disability when diagnosed with COPD, individuals need to go through a five-step process. The first part of the process determines whether an individual is already working or engaged in any type of gainful activity or employment. If you earn more than $1,000 a month as an employee, you will likely be disqualified from Social Security Disability benefits.
The next part of the process is for the Social Security Administration to determine that your disability is severe enough to drastically reduce or limit your ability to perform daily living activities. Such activities can include walking, standing, carrying an object or responding to simple instructions or carrying out work duties.
Your medical records will be evaluated to determine the category of your impairment, which may include but are not limited to undergoing specific pulmonary function tests to measure the severity of your impairment. Your complete medical records and test results will be requested for this process.
The Social Security Administration will also engage in research to determine whether an individual can do work he or she has performed in the past, despite their diagnosis of COPD. If such a case is determined, benefits will be denied.
The last stage of the process involves a review of a person's age, mental and physical condition and work experience. The Social Security Administration takes other factors under consideration as well, including the ability of a person to engage in sedentary work. For example, an ability to perform sedentary work with a maximum lift of 10 pounds, an ability to sit for six hours, or walk or stand up to two hours during an eight-hour day might disqualify someone from receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Certain criteria may also determine that a person who has been unable to perform a job in the last 15 years will more than likely be deemed disabled. Psychological impairments that prevent an individual from undertaking unskilled work or simple tasks is also be considered disabled and will likely qualify for Social Security Disability payments.
For more information regarding guidelines for qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits when diagnosed with COPD, you may wish to contact a disability attorney to review your Social Security Disability case.