Social Security Disability Conditions – Respiratory System
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD)
is a payroll-funded program to supplement the income of those unable to work due to disability.
General Qualifications for SSD Eligibility
For you to be eligible for SSD, your disability must last for at least a year or be terminal. You must also be under age 65 to be eligible, as 65 is normally the age of Medicare eligibility.
To be eligible for SSD, you must have accumulated a prescribed number of Social Security credits (normally accumulated through work experience and payment into Social Security) during the 10 years immediately preceding disability. Requirements vary according to age, and if you suffer disability before age 23 you may be able to draw on your parents’ Social Security credits without affecting your parents’ eligibility for SSD.
Respiratory System Disorders and SSD
Chronic disorders of the respiratory system can cause ventilatory problems and gas change abnormalities. When this happens, the result is an irreversible loss of lung function often accompanied by symptoms including coughing, wheezing, and chest pain.
Certain conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis alter pulmonary function by obstructing airways. Disorders affecting pulmonary circulation can lead to pulmonary vascular hypertension, pulmonary heart disease, and right heart failure.
Serious chronic ailments such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, and apnea can make everyday life very difficult, and chronic lung infections can also lead to serious loss of lung function.
Some of these conditions, particularly emphysema and cystic fibrosis, can be so debilitating that lung transplantation may be required at some point. Other leading causes of lung transplantation include Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, and Idiopathic Pulmonary Hypertension.
Because a lung transplant can affect your ability to work, the Social Security Administration recognizes a transplanted lung as a qualifying condition for SSD.
If you meet the general qualifications for SSD eligibility and a lung transplant makes it impossible for you to engage in substantial gainful activity, you may qualify for SSD benefits based on your disability. If you qualify on the basis of your lung transplant, your disability determination can last until one year following surgery. After one year, any residual impairment will be evaluated.
To be evaluated for disability, you will normally need to submit your medical history, a physical examination report, a chest x-ray or other acceptable image, and spirometric pulmonary function tests. Additional testing may also be required.
For further details about evaluation of respiratory or lung conditions for disability benefits, click here.
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