Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits in PA with a Respiratory Disease?

According to Census data, approximately 20% of Americans are disabled, adding up to a whopping 57 million people.  According to the Social Security Administration, in 2013 alone the SSA spent over $10 billion on disability benefits for roughly 8.9 million disabled individuals.  But while millions are approved, many more will be denied.  The more you understand about what the SSA looks for in applicants with respiratory diseases, the stronger your claim will be.  In this edition of our “Can I Qualify?” blog series, our Philadelphia Disability lawyers take a look at how the SSA evaluates respiratory conditions for disability benefits.

Doctor examining a lung radiography

The SSA’s Listing of Impairments

The SSA uses a few basic guidelines when weighing disability applicants.  Claims representatives will consider questions like:

  • Do you have a recognized disability?
  • Is your disability severe enough to prevent you from working?
  • How long is your disability expected to last?

Because different conditions have different effects on physical function and working ability, each case must be evaluated on an individual basis.  The SSA uses its Listing of Impairments, sometimes referred to as the “Blue Book,” to help determine whether your particular disability is severe “enough” to interfere with gainful employment.  In other words, it is not enough to simply have a respiratory disease — it must be considered severely disabling.

Respiratory Conditions Eligible for Disability Benefits

Section 3.00 of the Listing of Impairments is dedicated entirely to respiratory diseases.  Noted medical conditions under Section 3.00 include:

  • Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency (Section 3.02)
  • Asthma (Section 3.03)
  • Cystic Fibrosis (Section 3.04)
  • Pneumoconiosis (Section 3.06)
  • Bronchiectasis (Section 3.07)
  • Chronic Persistent Lung Infections (Section 3.08)
  • Cor Pulmonale Secondary to Chronic Pulmonary Vascular Hypertension (Section 3.09)
  • Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders (Section 3.10)
  • Lung Transplant (Section 3.11)

There is no Section 3.05 currently listed on the SSA’s website.

It should also be noted that even if an illness is not explicitly referenced in the Listing (such as a rare disease), it could still be considered a valid condition.

Requirements for Common Respiratory Conditions

Once again, it is not “enough” to have a condition: that condition must also prevent you from working. The SSA measures the severity of your respiratory condition based on professional input from your physician, as well as the Blue Book guidelines.  In addition to the partial examples below, you can view the full official guidelines here.

Asthma

  • Must be accompanied by either chronic asthmatic bronchitis or attacks.
  • Attacks must occur at least six times per year “in spite of prescribed treatment.”
  • An in-patient hospitalization exceeding 24 hours “counts as two attacks.”

Cystic Fibrosis

The SSA’s standards for cystic fibrosis are more complex than those associated with asthma, but some of the requirements include:

  • “Episodes of bronchitis or pneumonia or hemoptysis” which occur at least six times per year.  (Once more, hospitalizations longer than 24 hours count as two episodes.)
  • Alternately: “persistent pulmonary infection” which occurs at least twice per year and requires “intravenous or nebulization antimicrobial therapy.”

Lung Transplant

Fortunately, the lung transplant requirements are straightforward.  The full entry in the Listing of Impairments simply states, “Consider under a disability for 12 months following the date of surgery; thereafter, evaluate the residual impairment.”

If you are unable to work due to a respiratory condition, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits. A PA or NJ disability attorney can prepare a strong application, or help you appeal if you’ve already been denied.  To schedule a free, confidential case evaluation, call the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online today.

Related Articles

How Bankruptcy Can Protect You

Filing for bankruptcy is often thought of as a sign of failure. At best, it is seen as a last resort when faced with too many bills, collection letters, or […]

Read More »

Means Testing in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has many layers. Before filing, a potential debtor will have to gather their bills, bank statements, tax returns, and proof of all household income for the previous six months. […]

Read More »

How Many Types of Social Security Benefits Are Available?

“What kinds of benefits are there?” While it is necessary to be disabled to receive disability benefits, the non-medical requirements are different for each category. You may be entitled to one or […]

Read More »

Have an Attorney Review Your Case for Free

Get a Free Case Evaluation

Contact Our Attorneys To Learn How We Can Help Your Case

Name(Required)

12 Convenient Locations Across Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Philadelphia, PA

7909 Bustletown Ave, 1st Floor Philadelphia, PA 19152 (215) 607-7478 Get Directions

Quakertown, PA

328 Broad St. Quakertown, PA 18951 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Allentown, PA

137 N 5th St. Suite A Allentown, PA 18102 (215) 240-4082 Get Directions

Jenkintown, PA

135 Old York Road Jenkintown, PA 19046 (215) 544-3347 Get Directions

Easton, PA

101 Larry Holmes Dr. #212 Easton, PA 18042 (215) 515-7077 Get Directions

Bala Cynwyd, PA

2 Bala Plaza, Suite 300 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 557-3209 Get Directions

Bensalem, PA

3554 Hulmeville Rd, #102 Bensalem, PA 19020 (215) 515-6389 Get Directions

Plymouth Meeting, PA

600 W. Germantown Pike #400 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 (215) 515-6876 Get Directions

Cinnaminson, NJ

909 Route 130 South #202 Cinnaminson, NJ 08077 (609) 796-4344 Get Directions

Hamilton Twp., NJ

100 Horizon Center Blvd., 1st and 2nd Floors Hamilton Township, NJ 08691 (609) 236-8649 Get Directions

Marlton, NJ

10000 Lincoln Drive E One Greentree Centre, Suite 201 Marlton, NJ 08053 (856) 213-2805 Get Directions

Piscataway, NJ

200 Centennial Ave. Suite 200 Piscataway, NJ 08854 (908) 367-7256 Get Directions