Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to various inflammatory lung diseases like bronchitis and emphysema that occur and worsen on a regular basis. Those who suffer from COPD experience shortness of breath, coughing, and related pain that can prevent activity and work.
If you suffer from COPD and are no longer capable of working or supporting yourself, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits, created to provide monthly assistance to those in severe need. If you think disability benefits may be right for you, continue below to see how to apply.
Step One: Determine how much your COPD limits you.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) handles thousands of disability applications a year. For your application to be approved, it is important to show that your disability is severe enough to require continued monthly financial support. To do this, you must first analyze all the ways your COPD affects your daily life.
For instance, most people with moderate to severe COPD experience shortness of breath and coughing. This may make it difficult to walk any distance or lift objects reliably, which would make working any physical job difficult. This could also make it difficult to clean the home, cook, or even walk to the bathroom, which would further explain your need for assistance.
If the lasting symptoms of your stroke make working life and daily life painful or more difficult, Social Security is more likely to approve you for benefits.
Step Two: Get test results confirming the severity of your condition.
While some people with COPD experience crippling side effects, others continue to function rather normally and may not even know they have it. This means, when applying for benefits, it is important to provide the SSA with as much physical evidence as possible to show that your COPD prevents you from living your normal life.
The best types of evidence you can provide for COPD are spirometry tests (determine your lung capacity), DLCO tests (measure how much oxygen your blood can carry), oxygen saturation tests, and imaging scans of the lungs. If your results show a severe obstruction of your breathing in relation to your age, weight and height, you may qualify for disability via the “Blue Book”, the SSA’s disability guidebook.
If your diagnosis doesn’t fit the Blue Book, this doesn’t mean you are disqualified from receiving benefits — you can still get your application approved by providing enough supporting evidence.
Step Three: Gather tax info, work history, and prepare to fill out the application.
Before applying for benefits, you should prepare as much information about your life and history as possible. Two of the most important additional documents you must provide on your application are a) your tax information, and b) your past work history.
Tax information allows the SSA to see how much money you have contributed to Social Security in your years of work. Depending on your age, you must have contributed a certain amount of money (called “credits”) to Social Security in order to qualify.
Work history is also provided to show the SSA what types of work you have experience in, when/if you stopped working, and whether or not your illness prevents you from working similar jobs.
Contacting a Social Security Attorney
Applying for disability benefits can be tedious and occasionally overwhelming. If you feel that you may qualify for disability benefits, it is wise to consult with a disability advocate or attorney during the process. They are an irreplaceable resource when filing out applications, keeping paperwork organized, and aiding you in the appeals process if necessary. It is also required by law that disability attorneys do not receive payment unless you win your case.
To give yourself the best chance at receiving the assistance you deserve, speak with a disability attorney today.