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Social Security Disability Insurance And Respiratory Diseases: A Primer

Having a respiratory disease often makes it quite difficult for someone to continue working at their jobs. In some instances, a respiratory illness makes employment impossible, so the worker must obtain income from another source, such as the Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) program. This article looks at some basic information about qualifying for SSDI benefits due to respiratory issues.

 Eligibility: Work History

An individual can only obtain SSDI benefits if they have been gainfully employed for a certain period of time. The amount of time you must have worked varies depending on how old you are and when your disability began. One firm requirement is that you need to show that you have worked at least part of five of the last ten years before the onset of your disability. If you do not have this type of work history, you can apply to another program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Eligibility: Illness

The Social Security Administration(SSA) has a number of eligibility requirements for those wishing to receive SSDI benefits because of their illness. For example, in most cases, your illness must be listed in an SSA publication known as the Blue Book. Several respiratory illnesses are included in the listing, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which encompasses medical conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.  Another respiratory disease recognized by the Blue Book is cystic fibrosis.

It is not enough, however, to simply show that you have a respiratory condition that is listed in the publication. You must prove that your illness does not allow you to perform any useful work. For example, you need to prove that your condition will last for a year or more. The SSA also requires that, in addition to not being able to perform your current duties, you must be unfit for other work.

File and Appeal

You can file a claim for SSDI by filling out an application online or going to your local SSA office. You will need your doctor to provide a full medical history of your respiratory issues, including any relevant lab results, and also need to show how your condition prevents you from continuing to work.

Unfortunately, most applications are rejected at this initial stage. An appeals process exists, however, and many rejected applications are approved when they are appealed.

Respiratory and breathing issues are eligible for SSDI, but you will probably need expert legal assistance to get your claim approved. For more information about these critical health issues, contact a disability attorney in your area.