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How do you get disability approved for Asthma?

If your diagnosis is asthma (chronic asthmatic bronchitis), the severity of your condition will be evaluated under Social Security disability impairment listing 3.03. The criteria are listed below:

A. Having a FEV1 (one second forced expiratory volume) score (done through spirometry, i.e. lung function breathing test) that is less than or equal to the values below that correspond to a height without shoes:

Note: SSA describes spirometry as the following: "Spirometry, which measures how well you move air into and out of your lungs, involves at least three forced expiratory maneuvers during the same test session. A forced expiratory maneuver is a maximum inhalation followed by a forced maximum exhalation, and measures exhaled volumes of air over time. The volume of air you exhale in the first second of the forced expiratory maneuver is the FEV1. The total volume of air that you exhale during the entire forced expiratory maneuver is the FVC. We use your highest FEV1 value to evaluate your respiratory disorder."


B. At least three hospitalizations arising from asthma exacerbations or complications occurring within a 12-month period. The hospitalizations must be 30 days apart from each other and the 12-month period must occur within the period Social Security is considering in connection with your disability application or the review of your claim.

Additionally, each hospitalization must last for at least 48 hours. The 48 hours can include the time spent in an hospital ER right before the individual is hospitalized inpatient. Social Security will consider the individual under a disability for one year from the time of the last inpatient hospital stay discharge date.


1. Can a child receive disability benefits for asthma?
2. Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions and asthma
3. What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

More information about Asthma

Asthma is a respiratory disease that is characterized by the constriction and narrowing of the airways to the lungs. During asthma these airways become inflamed and lined with mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma is most often diagnosed during childhood and is constantly on the rise. Children in the United States have seen a seventy-five percent increase in asthma in recent decades. Six percent of children have been diagnosed in the United States. Risk factors for asthma include maternal smoking, low birth weight, premature birth, family history of the condition and viral respiratory infection.

When asthma becomes exacerbated it is known as an asthma attack. This attack can come on quite quickly, making it hard to breathe immediately. These attacks can be mild or life threatening.

Asthma is a complex disease and the causes are a mixture of genetic and environmental factors that are not completely understood. While there are many genes associated with asthma, mostly those related to the immune system and inflammation, asthma is most notably caused by environmental triggers. These triggers can range from pet dander, tobacco smoke, infection, dust to pollen, food allergies, strong perfumes, moist air, exertion or emotional stress. When exposed to these triggers, the large airways (or bronchi) spasm and become inflamed. The inflammation triggers excessive mucus production, which leads to breathing problems. Basically, this is an immune response to allergens that are inhaled.

When a trigger is not present, most patients with asthma feel normal and can breathe easily.

Signs of asthma are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and an inability to breathe deeply and naturally. These symptoms may be controlled by pharmaceuticals which dilate and open up airways, called bronchodilators. These bronchodilators are most often found as an inhalant. Corticosteroids are the most popular treatment for asthma, due to their ability to regulate inflammation and reduce and treat asthma attacks.

During severe attacks there can be chest pain and loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Even when an attack is quite severe, usually the patient can use a bronchodilator and be normal within minutes and not have another attack for a long period of time.

The best way to keep from experiencing asthma attacks is to determine and eliminate asthma triggers. This may mean quitting smoking, not being around second hand smoke, moving from an overly high trafficked area with severe exhaust fumes, not eating a certain food or not being around animals with pet dander, such as cats. Determining and eliminating triggers can cut down drastically on asthma attacks.

Cases of asthma are increasing worldwide, though it is very high in America. Many think this is due to excessive amounts of environmental pollution, from harsh chemicals in cleaning products to fuel exhaust. While most common in affluent countries, asthma is prominent all over the world and causes over 150,000 deaths annually.

Asthma is usually diagnosed by testing the airway restriction with a peak flow meter, looking at family medical history or simply by testing the patient on how they respond to bronchodilator treatment.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Will I get Social Security Disability back pay?
Can I get permanent Social Security Disability
How much does Social Security Disability SSI pay?
Winning disability benefits, how do I win?
How to win your disability benefits
How to apply for disability for medical conditions
Social Security Disability application, how to apply, file
Can I be approved for disability for asthma without meeting the listing criteria?
Can I work and still be approved for disability for asthma?
How do you get disability approved for Asthma?
How long to get a disability hearing decision answer?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Social Security Disability status, How to check
How to find if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or denied?
How to qualify for disability, who qualifies?
Qualify for disability, eligibility requirements, criteria
How long does a request for a disability hearing take?
How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter from Social Security?
How long does it take to get or be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
Applying for disability, how to apply, where to go
When should you File for Disability benefits
How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
Maximum back pay you can get for Social Security disability