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When Do Respiratory Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability?

 Posted on September 23,2021 in Social Security disability

Waukesha County Social Security Disability LawyerThere are many different health conditions that can affect a person’s well-being and make it difficult or impossible for them to maintain steady employment. Respiratory disorders can be especially difficult to deal with, and a person who struggles to breathe or process oxygen may have limited energy, or they may be unable to maintain the pace required during a regular workday. Fortunately, those who suffer from these disorders may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits. Applicants for Social Security disability will need to understand the requirements they will need to meet to prove that they are disabled.

Social Security Listings for Chronic Respiratory Disorders

A person may qualify for disability benefits if their condition is included in Social Security’s Listing of Impairments. These listings include several different types of chronic respiratory disorders, including bronchitis, emphysema, and pulmonary fibrosis. A person who is applying for SSD benefits will need to provide medical evidence showing that they meet the qualifications for one of these listings.

Since these disorders affect a person’s ability to move air into or out of their lungs or interfere with the ability to exchange gas across cell membranes in the lungs, the determination of whether a person is disabled will usually depend on tests of a person’s pulmonary functions. These tests may include:

  • Spirometry - These tests measure the amount of air a person is able to breathe into and out of their lungs by having them perform “forced expiratory maneuvers” in which they inhale the maximum amount possible, then exhale air as hard and fast as they are able. The test will determine the person’s forced expiratory volume (FEV), or the air exhaled during the first second of exhalation, and the forced vital capacity (FVC), or the total volume of air exhaled during a forced expiratory maneuver. If a person’s FEV or FVC is below a certain threshold based on their gender, height, and age, they will be considered disabled.

  • Gas exchange testing - Different types of tests may be used to determine how well a person is able to process the oxygen that they breathe into their lungs. These may include tests of the diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide (DLCO), arterial blood gas (ABG), or pulse oximetry. If these tests show that a person’s ability to absorb oxygen through their lungs is inhibited or that the level of oxygen in their bloodstream is below a certain threshold, they will meet the qualifications for disability.

A person may also be considered disabled if complications related to a lung disorder have caused them to be hospitalized for at least 48 hours three times within one year, as long as these hospital stays were at least 30 days apart.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Social Security Disability Lawyer for Lung Disorders

If you suffer from a lung disorder that has affected your ability to find a job or maintain employment, Pearson Disability Law, LLC will work with you to determine whether you can receive Social Security disability benefits. Attorney Jonathan Pearson will assist with your application or help you appeal the denial of a disability claim. Contact our Oak Creek Social Security disability attorney at 414-240-4801 to arrange a free consultation today.



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  • Thank you so much Jonathan. I was so tired of waiting almost 2 years for my disability hearing and you told me always stay positive and to not give up. You met with me before my hearing and told me what to expect and when you told me the judge approved my case I was so relieved! The Social Security disability payments I get allow me to keep seeing my doctors and really help us out. Thank you!

    - Shirley

  • Jonathan thank you for helping me win my Social Security disability case. You are so easy to talk to and don’t make me feel stupid each time I call with my questions.

    - Rene

  • Jonathan is very knowledgeable and pleasant,He is very considerate for his client and return my all phone calls promptly.I was very happy for his services. I highly recommend him to any body who needs attorney help.

    - S.P., Wheeling, IL

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