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Can someone qualify for SSDI benefits if they have COPD?

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Social Security Disability

There are many different medical challenges that can impact someone’s overall health and quality of life. Many chronic conditions often arise later in life and can affect someone’s overall health and their life expectancy. They can make people dependent on certain forms of medical care and could prevent them from working.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one such condition. Medical challenges including emphysema may lead to a diagnosis of COPD. Those who have worked in certain professions or smoked may be at elevated risk of a COPD diagnosis. Someone with COPD may have limitations on their activity, especially when air quality is low. Individuals with COPD may also require supplemental oxygen.

Medical limitations could affect the ability to continue working after a COPD diagnosis. Can someone qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if they have COPD?

COPD can be a qualifying condition

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes numerous different respiratory conditions that could prevent someone from maintaining painful employment. COPD is on that list. Anyone diagnosed with COPD could potentially apply for SSDI benefits if their symptoms are severe enough to keep them from working.

However, extensive medical documentation is typically necessary. Approval for benefits is not automatic just because of a diagnosis of COPD. Even a reliance on supplemental oxygen does not automatically mean that an individual is eligible for SSDI benefits. In many cases, specific testing may be necessary. For example, spirometry testing can help establish lung function. Tests may also need to look at someone’s blood oxygen levels and their functional abilities.

Only those whose COPD is severe enough to truly make working unsafe or unrealistic typically qualify for benefits. Of course, there are cases where people might qualify but don’t receive approval immediately because they haven’t undergone the necessary testing or did not submit adequate documentation to the SSA. Those applicants may need to appeal if they hope to secure benefits.

Recognizing that COPD could be a qualifying condition might help people make the decision to apply for SSDI benefits after their diagnosis. Both applying and appealing are procedures that are often easier with assistance. Outside help allows those struggling with medical challenges to focus on their health instead of on red tape.


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