Applying for Disability Benefits with COPD

The CDC estimates that nearly 16 million Americans are affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), an inflammatory lung disease-causing restricted airflow and difficulty breathing.

COPD sufferers are often plagued with severe shortness of breath, respiratory infections, and chronic fatigue, rendering them unable to engage in any substantive physical activity or income-producing work. 

If COPD is limiting your quality of life and interfering with your ability to work, you may be eligible for relief through Social Security Disability benefits. 

Michigan residents applying for COPD disability benefits are encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced Michigan Social Security Disability attorney. The Social Security Disability application process is complex, and you will want help from a legal expert versed in current SSD guidelines and requirements.

Do I Qualify for COPD Disability Benefits?

Not everyone afflicted with COPD qualifies for SSD benefits. The Social Security Administration evaluates select criteria when considering SSD applications for approval. Contacting an experienced disability attorney early on in the process, or before the application is submitted, can help ensure that your application is complete and thorough which could increase your chances of approval and expedite the process.

One way to qualify for disability benefits is by meeting SSA’s criteria at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process which looks at the Blue Book of designated ‘Listings’ that qualify your impairments as so severe that it would merit an award of disability benefits. Your COPD must meet the specific medical criteria related to age, gender, and height, as outlined in the SSA’s Blue Book to qualify. In consideration of these requirements, you will be required to submit results from one of four tests confirming the severity of your COPD:

  1. Spirometry: evaluates lung capacity
  2. DLCO: measures blood oxygen levels
  3. Oxygen saturation
  4. ABG: measures the partial pressure of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood

However, even if your COPD does not merit the strict criteria to be eligible for disability benefits based on SSA’s Listing of impairments, you still may qualify for disability by showing that your condition, either alone or in combination with any other impairment(s) you may have, would preclude your ability to work at a substantially gainful level. Every year, thousands of applicants who suffer from conditions like COPD are rejected by the SSA for insufficient medical evidence supporting their claims. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney will review your medical documentation and ensure your file is complete, as well as assist with drafting condition-specific documentation to help support your case.

What Documents Does the SSA Need to Approve My COPD Disability Application?

Your Social Security Disability lawyer will assemble a comprehensive COPD claim application on your behalf. As part of the application package, your lawyer will include specific documents and records as evidence of your disability:

Medical Records and Work History:

Your medical records and work history will be used to compare the severity and limiting factors of your COPD against your ability to perform work similar to your job experience. 

Income Tax Returns:

Income tax returns will reflect your contributions to Social Security and whether you have enough credits to qualify for SSD payments. 

The more organized and thorough your documentation, the greater your odds of receiving SSD benefits from your original claim.

What If My COPD Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits Is Denied? 

Your Social Security Disability attorney can appeal your case, including at the Request for Reconsideration level or before an administrative law judge, if your claim is denied.  Some firms, like Disability Law Group, specialize in claims beyond the administrative hearing level, to include appeals before the Appeals Council and US District Court level.  In preparation for an appeal, your attorney will prepare you for testimony and brief or legal memorandum, and and present additional arguments and evidence proving your inability to work:

Medical-Vocational Allowance

A medical-vocational allowance is a global assessment of your medical health, physical limitations, education, work history, marketable skills, age, and current employment opportunities.  All of these factors are weighed together to determine what you could do to earn an income. 

RFC Reports 

RFC reports, or residual functional capacity forms, document in specific detail the physical and/or mental activities you are able or unable to do that directly impact your ability to work. 

Witness Statements

Statements from friends, family, co-workers, and work supervisors tell about your declining health and inability to perform everyday and work-related tasks due to COPD complications. 

Call a Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney Today

A progressively debilitating disease, COPD can make performing simple, everyday activities nearly impossible, including working to earn a living. Here at Disability Law Group, disability benefits is all that we do. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can fight to help you win the benefits that you deserve. 

If COPD affects your ability to work, you may find financial relief through Social Security Disability benefits. However, the rules and regulations surrounding Social Security Disability claims are tedious and exact.

Don’t risk denial of your COPD disability claim for benefits. Consult a knowledgeable Michigan Social Security Disability attorney today for a comprehensive case review and proper handling of your COPD claim. Reach out to us today.