Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can make it difficult to breathe. Many people with severe cases require supplemental oxygen. Still, a COPD diagnosis alone does not qualify you for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Instead, the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlines specific eligibility guidelines for those with a COPD diagnosis or other chronic respiratory condition.
At Berger and Green, our attorneys can help you apply for for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
We also offer guidance and assistance with the appeals process if the SSA denied your claim. We will fight for the benefits you deserve. Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to learn more about obtaining disability for COPD.
How do I know if my COPD meets the definition of a disability?
The SSA publishes a list of impairments that qualify for benefits. These impairment listings are generally known as “the Blue Book.” The information that applies to applicants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is in Section 3.00 – Respiratory Disorders.
According to this publication, the SSA evaluates if test results demonstrate the severity of your impairment. In the Blue Book, they outline the maximum thresholds to determine if you meet the definition of disabled.
If you believe your test results may be at or below these levels, you should discuss it with your doctor. A doctor can perform the tests necessary to prove your impairment and ensure your condition is properly documented in your medical records, which the SSA uses to evaluate your disability claim.
Even if your clinical evaluations do not meet the eligibility requirements, you may still qualify for disability benefits through a residual functional capacity assessment. This assessment evaluates how your COPD affects your ability to take care of yourself, get around, and perform specific job-related tasks. If the evaluation finds your condition prevents you from working, you may qualify for benefits.
If you are unsure if you qualify for SSD benefits, contact our office today. We can help you understand the impairment listing for COPD and assist you throughout the application process.
How can I prove my disability claim for COPD?
The SSA requires proof of your disability through your medical records. They obtain these records based on the information you put on your application, which includes the contact information of any doctors who have treated your COPD. We can help make sure the SSA gets your medical providers’ information so they obtain the records they need.
When reviewing a claim based on COPD, the SSA expects to see:
- Your medical history;
- Notes about any related hospitalizations;
- Imaging scans, including X-rays and computerized tomography;
- Pulmonary function tests, including spirometry, DLCO, ABG, and pulse oximetry readings;
- Other clinical tests; and
- Any treatment and evidence of your response.
Give us a call at 412-661-1400 to set up a time to evaluate your application. We understand what the SSA expects to see in a qualifying application.
What are the other criteria to qualify for SSD benefits?
All SSD programs require you to meet the same definition of disabled, but there are other stipulations that differ between each program.
Social Security Disability Insurance requires you to work long enough to earn the necessary number of work credits to qualify based on your age. There is also a maximum monthly earned income of $1,170 per month for 2017.
When it comes to Supplemental Security Income, the income qualifications are more stringent. While there is no work credit requirement, there are income limits. For 2017, most individuals cannot earn more than $735 per month and still qualify for SSI benefits. In addition, you must have less than $2,000 in available resources. The criteria may differ for couples and families. If you qualify for SSI, you most likely also qualify for Medicaid and other benefits.
What if the SSA denies my disability claim?
Unfortunately, many people receive a letter of denial after filing a claim.
We see applicants denied because they skipped a question, entered the wrong birth date, or because of other similar accidents. Some receive denials because their doctor used the wrong form or completed a form incorrectly. In other words, almost any mishap can lead to a denial.
The best thing you can do to secure the SSD benefits you deserve is to call us as soon as you receive your denial notice. We have to act quickly to request an appeals hearing before time runs out.
Before the hearing, we review your application and figure out why the SSA denied your initial claim. Then, we collect the documentation or other information to correct the problem. At the hearing, we represent you in front of the administrative law judge assigned to your case. In many cases, we are able to get qualified clients the benefits they deserve through this hearing.
If you receive an approval from this appeals hearing, you will begin receiving monthly benefits. A few months later, you should receive payment to cover any disability back pay.
If the administrative law judge denies your appeal, we can continue the appeals process until you receive the benefits you deserve.
Enlist the Help of a Berger and Green SSD Lawyer
At Berger and Green, our attorneys can help you apply for SSDI and SSI or navigate the appeals process. If you need help getting the disability benefits you need for your COPD, call us today at 412-661-1400 to discuss your claim.