Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Facts about Emphysema and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1) Emphysema is primarily caused by smoking tobacco, which delivers over 4,000 chemicals to the body. Other causes may be second-hand smoke, air pollution, allergies, and infection.
2) Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and occurs when the air sacs in the lungs lose elasticity and are gradually destroyed, making it difficult to breathe.
3) It is a long-term, degenerative disease with no cure, although quitting smoking and using inhaled steroids or bronchodilators can help manage symptoms and make it easier to breathe. Antibiotics may help with infections and reducing symptoms.
4) Although some people have no symptoms, symptoms of emphysema can include fatigue, headaches, mucous or blood producing cough, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and recurrent respiratory infections.
5) Severe cases of emphysema may call for breathing support or surgery. Parts of the lung may be removed during surgery. A lung transplant may be needed in severe cases.
6) Sometimes non smokers will develop emphysema due to missing the alpha-1 antitrypsin protein. Only about 1-2 percent of those with emphysema have it due to this protein deficiency.
7) Those with emphysema can do a few things to make it easier for themselves to breathe, such as eliminating air pollution like fireplace smoke and chemical irritants, staying away from smokers, and avoiding cold air.
8) There are many things that can increase risk for emphysema, including smoking, being a smoker over 40, being exposed to chemicals and pollution, Being HIV positive and a smoker, and having connective tissue disorders.
9) Many complications can occur due to emphysema, such as pneumonia, irregular heartbeat, pneumothorax, heart failure, heart swelling, and chronic lung disease.
10) Doctors may use many different tests to diagnose emphysema, including arterial blood gas analysis, chest x-ray, sputum examination, spirometry tests, pulmonary function tests, CT scan, and a pulse oximetry.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews