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Social Security Disability and Respiratory Disorders

If you suffer from a respiratory ailment of some kind, you might be wondering whether or not you might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. The good news is that, like many other disorders, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does provide benefits, as well as information and policies, concerning many different types of respiratory conditions.

The SSA defines respiratory disorders as conditions that result in difficulty with exhaling or inhaling or interfere with diffusion (the exchange of gases). Disorders that fall under these categories include such wide ranging ailments as emphysema, cystic fibrosis, lung transplants, and asthma, as well as a host of others. If you suffer from a condition such as these, you might suffer from symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chronic chest pain, or production of sputum or blood that interfere with your ability to work or live a fully productive life.

To apply for SSDI benefits under one of these (or similar) respiratory conditions, it is necessary to provide medical documentation that show the extent of your condition, as well as any treatment or prognosis that you might have. Such documentation might include the following:

Medical History
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits you must provide information concerning the full extent of your medical history. This information should include doctor’s visits, physical exam findings, results of various tests, and lab results.

Test Results
One of the most important ways you can prove the extent or severity of a respiratory ailment comes through the results of various tests. These tests can include, but are not limited to, spirometry (measuring the degree to which you are able to move air in an out of your lungs), a DLCO test (measuring the exchange of gas molecules across cell membranes), an ABG test (measuring the concentration of certain hydrogen ions in your blood, and pulse oximetry (measuring the saturation of oxygen in your blood). The SSA uses the results of these tests and others like them to help make a determination concerning your specific case.

In many cases, imaging can be used to help the SSA decide your case. Imaging may encompass such things as x-rays, tomography, and bronchography.

Treatments and Prognosis
If you are undergoing any sort of treatment for your disorder so far, which might include medicine, inhalers, supplemental oxygen, or various breathing exercises, the SSA will need documentation that speaks to how long you have been using those treatments and what, if any, effect they have had on your ability to live a normal life. In addition, information from your healthcare provider as to any future prognosis of your condition will be needed as well.

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