Lung Cancer and Respiratory Disorders: What You Should Know About Disability Benefits

Today, September 25, 2019, is World Lung Day. Lung cancer and respiratory-related conditions affect millions of people worldwide. From the initial diagnosis, the road to treatment and resources can be difficult.  Lung-related conditions, involving the respiratory system, may include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia, lung cancer, and more. Diagnoses and treatment options vary. While there are many resources available, the path to discovering them, and which are right for you, can be daunting and confusing. 

Some of the respiratory-related impairments can be traced back to smoking as the main risk factor, but others can be congenital in nature or have unknown causes in an otherwise healthy person. Doctors and medical professionals use a variety of techniques and testing to properly diagnose and treat respiratory conditions, such as physical examinations, spirometry, oximetry, arterial blood gas, chest X-ray, CT scan, Pulmonary Function Test (PFT), and sleep study (polysomnogram), to name a few.

Lung Cancer and Respiratory Conditions: Statistics and Resources

Unfortunately, lung cancer causes the most cancer deaths worldwide and is the number one cancer killer in both men and women, accounting for between one and two million deaths each and every year. COPD has continued to be the third cause of death. One of the main reasons why lung cancer, and other respiratory conditions, are so deadly is that, in its early stages, the symptoms are not always apparent with little to no symptoms at all. Common symptoms – shortness of breath, dyspnea with or without exertion, chest pain, coughing, wheezing, sputum production, hemoptysis, and fatigue – are oftentimes not realized or identified until they become severe. Further, severe symptoms in lung cancer patients can sometimes indicate the spread of cancer to other parts of the body (such as joint pain, stiffness, weakness, and cognitive problems, etc.). 

Lung cancer and other lung conditions can be treated more successfully when diagnosed early on.  While treatment options vary, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you notice any new or worsening symptoms. New studies reveal potential life-saving tests, including low-dose CT screening (LDCT). LDCT may be available for high-risk individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information on LDCT and other treatment and options for respiratory conditions, you can visit the following resources from the American Lung Association and the COPD foundation:

Work and Disability Benefits

Any medical condition, including breathing-related impairments, can affect a person’s life and how they function, making it difficult to work full-time considering the severity of symptoms and frequency of doctor visits. Problems breathing, tiredness, and pain commonly causes people to have difficulty focusing and may require rest or naps during the day. These kinds of symptoms and limitations can certainly affect anyone’s ability to hold down a job. Even if you have not already been off of work for one-year, your condition may be considered to last at least one-year (in other words, likely to keep you from returning to full-time work) – making you a candidate for disability benefits.  

The Social Security Administration has criteria to establish disability in certain significant cases involving respiratory disorder(s). Listing 3.00 specifically deals with chronic respiratory conditions; some of the factors evaluated include test results, exacerbations or serious flare-ups of symptoms, and involvement in other body systems. However, even if your condition doesn’t quite meet or medically equal the extensive requirements of the Listing(s), you may still qualify for disability benefits. Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are available for individuals who demonstrate that they are unable to work full-time as a result of severe medical condition(s), such as COPD, uncontrolled asthma, and lung cancer. 

Our attorneys and staff at Disability Law Group take great pride in assisting people with a wide range of disabilities, including those with strictly a lung-related condition and others who have respiratory-based symptoms in addition to other diagnoses. We know the importance of a quick resolution in each case. Medical records and pertinent supportive evidence may be required to help prove your disability. Disability is all we do, and to us, every single client matters. Whether you are thinking about the disability process, or have already been denied, you can count on our skilled, caring attorneys and dedicated staff to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation – 800.838.1100.