Working With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic breathing condition caused by a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The vast majority of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is caused by smoking tobacco, though excessive dust and other pollutants may cause the condition as well.

Unfortunately, the damage caused to the airway as a result of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not generally repairable, and doesn’t typically respond positively to treatment.

It is extremely important that those who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) stop smoking. While the damage already done cannot generally be fixed, you can prevent further damage.

Further, failure to follow your doctor’s orders to stop smoking can negatively impact your Social Security Disability claim.

Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) include chronic coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Often these symptoms are triggered or worsened by physical exertion or stress.

When chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is severe enough, it can impact your ability to perform meaningful work or maintain gainful employment.

COPD and Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are considering making a Social Security Disability claim based on your Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), your first move should be to make sure you are getting regular treatment by a physician and that you are following all of their suggestions (including throwing your cigarettes away).

Most Social Security Disability claims are denied, often because the information the SSA uses to determine whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits is not stated correctly on the claims forms.

Unless your doctor has significant experience with disability cases, or is being coached by a Social Security Disability representative, chances are his reports aren’t going to effectively help you receive Social Security Disability benefits.

If you cannot work because of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can make it impossible for you to continue performing physical work. Because the condition is often triggered by physical exertion, many who suffer from it find that they can no longer continue working at the jobs they have worked at in the past.

The Social Security Administration will look at all of the jobs you have held in the past 15 years to see if you are physically capable of performing any of them.

Ultimately, it is up to you (and your Social Security Disability attorney, if you have one) to prove that you are no longer capable of performing in any job which you are qualified for.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

It is sometimes more of an uphill battle to prove that you are incapable of performing sedentary work.

To perform most sedentary work, all you need to be able to do is sit for six hours or longer. Unskilled sedentary work often requires use of fine motor skills. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) doesn’t directly affect any of these skills.

However, if your Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is severe enough, or if it has been shown to be triggered by the kind of stress that often accompanies office work, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

If you are older than 55 and have never performed sedentary work, the Social Security Administration may approve your application regardless of the fact that you are physically capable of performing sedentary work.

Talk to a Social Security Attorney Today

If your COPD is impacting your ability to preform your day-to-day tasks at work, it might be in your best interests to contact a Social Security attorney as soon as possible.

They can help you gather all the necessary medical documentation and information you need in order to give you the best chance of winning your case.

Even if your claim has already been denied, you have a right to appeal the decision. You also have the right to representation by a qualified Social Security Disability attorney at all steps of the appeals process.

Additional Resources

Qualifying for COPD Over the Age of 50
Why Was My COPD Claim Denied?