This year alone, the Social Security Administration will deal with millions of applications for Social Security Disability benefits. Most of these cases will need a significant amount of proof and consideration of the extent of the claimant’s disabilities and residual functioning capacity.
The Social Security Administration’s definition of disability is narrow compared with that of Worker’s Compensation and other disability insurance programs, and benefits are only available to those who are determined to be completely disabled.
Because most disabling conditions have varying degrees of severity, claimants often have to comply with several steps in the Social Security Disability appeals process; which may include providing more detailed medical information, going to an SSA appointed doctor or specialist for a second opinion, and any number of other requirements the SSA may impose. A typical claim takes a year and a half before it is accepted and some take much longer.
However, even the Social Security Administration recognizes that some conditions are completely disabling by definition, and that no one who is diagnosed with these conditions can reasonably be expected to continue working full time at any meaningful employment. Because these people, many of whom have terminal illnesses with short life expectancies, should not have to wade through the same system as others with more ambiguous disabling conditions, the Social Security Administration has developed a list of conditions called Compassionate Allowances. These listed conditions allow claimants to be approved automatically for Social Security Disability benefits and to start receiving benefits much sooner than others in the traditional claims and appeals process.
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis – Condition and Symptoms
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is one of the conditions listed for a Compassionate Allowance. What this means for you, should you have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is that you automatically qualify for benefits, and the claims process will be much shorter and more efficient for you.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung condition that causes deep tissue within the lungs to thicken and stiffen over a period of time. This makes the lung tissue harder and leads to scarring (called fibrosis). When the lung tissue hardens, the lungs are not able to move oxygen into the bloodstream at the level they are intended to, which in turn leads to shortness of breath and a lack of oxygen to vital systems (such as the brain, heart and other organs).
“Idiopathic” refers to the fact that doctors are not sure what is causing the condition, though it is widely accepted that factors like pollutants (second hand smoke, environmental pollutants, etc.), infections and medicinal side effects often contribute to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Typical symptoms of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis include weight loss, shortness of breath, persistent dry cough, fatigue, malaise, aches (especially at the joints) and clubbed fingers or toes. Lung infections and blood clots are also frequent symptoms, as are collapsed lungs.
The disease typically occurs in people over 50, with the chances of contraction much higher as a person ages. It is a life threatening disease, and typically, the life expectancy is three to five years from the diagnosis, with those who suffer from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis typically dying of hypertension, heart failure or respiratory failure.
There are a number of treatments to make you more comfortable and to slow down the onset of the disease, but there is no actual cure. Typical treatments include cough medicines, codeine, vitamin and nutritional therapy, oxygen, and transplants.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
An accurate and substantiated diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis automatically qualifies you for whichever Social Security Disability benefits you are eligible for based on your work history and financial assets. As with any Social Security Disability claim, it is important to make sure you include complete medical documentation which confirms that you do indeed have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
This should include, at a minimum, a complete description of your diagnosis and your response (if any) to all treatments that are being or have been attempted. There are also a number of tests doctors typically run to determine that you have Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, and you will want to be sure to include copies of all pertinent testing and the results. In many cases, the SSA will require you to be seen by one of their doctors in order to confirm the original diagnosis and to make sure that your condition falls within the parameters of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Your Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Social Security Disability Claim
When you have a condition like Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, which qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance, the real question is not so much whether you will or will not qualify for benefits. The only real question is whether everything will be filled out and handled correctly. If it is, you should receive your first benefits within a month.
The best way to make sure there are no errors or omissions is to have your file reviewed by a Social Security Disability lawyer. To receive a free evaluation of your claim, simply fill out the request form below.