Asthma is a condition that affects your ability to breathe due to inflammation of the bronchial tubes. This inflammation causes a breathing obstruction that can impair both inhaling and exhaling. In some cases, asthma is genetic. Others contract asthma as a result of environmental factors. Nearly a quarter of all who develop asthma as adults developed the condition as a direct result of workplace factors.
Because of this, you would be wise to consult a Social Security Disability lawyer before making a Social Security Disability claim due to asthma. In many cases, you may be entitled to damages from your former employer in addition to Social Security Disability benefits.
Asthma symptoms range from mild to severe. Most people with asthma are able to continue working, especially once appropriate medication has been prescribed. However, the Social Security Administration does recognize that asthma is a potentially debilitating condition. Because of this, there are specific standards by which asthma symptoms can be measured to determine if you are qualified for Social Security Disability benefits.
The main things the SSA will look at in determining if you are eligible for asthma are the frequency of your asthma attacks and their severity. You will need to be under the care of a physician, who will measure your air flow while you are having attacks. In general, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you must have at least six attacks per year which require treatment in an emergency room or its equivalent. Attacks requiring hospitlization for more than 24 hours are counted as two attacks for SSA’s purposes. The SSA will only consider the frequency of your attacks after they have been tracked for a complete year.
Asthma and your Ability to Perform Physical Work
When you can’t breathe effectively, it’s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to perform any kind of physical activity. There is no doubt that people with severe asthma attacks have a compromised ability to perform physical work during the attack.
In order for the SSA to approve you for Social Security Disability benefits, however, you will need to show that you can no longer perform the work that you have done previously as a result of the asthma attacks. The SSA will look closely at all work you have done in the past 15 years to determine whether any job that you are trained for could still be done despite your asthma.
Many asthma related Social Security Disability claims are denied initially. If your claim has been denied (or better yet, before your claim is denied), consult a Social Security Disability lawyer. A qualified Social Security Disability attorney knows what the SSA is looking for on your claim, and how to ensure that your doctor is equipped to fill out the medical evaluation using language that the SSA is likely to approve.
Asthma and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work
Proving that you are incapable of performing sedentary work due to asthma can be much more difficult than proving that you are incapable of performing physical work. The exception to this is if your asthma is due to allergens typically found in office settings.
If you are older, and have never performed any kind of sedentary work, the SSA will place less emphasis on your ability to perform sedentary work when determining whether to approve your Social Security Disability claim. The expectations concerning whether you could be retrained to perform sedentary work become gradually tougher depending on how much younger you are.