Applying for Disability Benefits with COPD

Picture of a doctor looking at an X-ray of lungs

Living with certain diseases can make many aspects of your life much more difficult. One such example is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly referred to as COPD. COPD is a series of lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that impact air intake and affect your ability to breathe, also causing damage to your lungs.

Unfortunately, COPD is quite common. According to Healthline, an estimated 16 million adults suffer from COPD in the U.S., although the American Lung Association (ALA) believes that number may actually be as high as 24 million.

Common Symptoms of COPD

When an individual suffers from COPD it can make it impossible for them to maintain gainful employment. This is due to various symptoms of the disease, such as:

  • Getting winded easily – whether performing physical activity or not
  • Wheezing
  • Constant coughing
  • Constant fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Chest tightness/discomfort
  • Frequent respiratory infections and/or hospitalizations
  • Unintended weight loss

These symptoms can impact the ability to make an income and provide for themselves and their families. Luckily, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides assistance for individuals struggling with such a disability. If you are suffering from COPD, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

COPD and The SSA Blue Book

The SSA considers COPD to be a disability. It can be located in Section 3.02 of the SSA Blue Book under “Respiratory Disorders.” However, while those with COPD may qualify for SSD benefits, there are additional requirements that must also be met. In order to be approved for benefits, you must have one of the following:

  1. A forced expiratory volume one (FEV1) that is equal to or lower to the minimum for your height, between 1.05 for those who are five feet and 1.65 or those who are six feet; or
  2. Chronic impairment of gas exchange due to documented COPD, with a gas diffusion capacity (DLCO) of a single breath under 10.5 mil/min/mm Hg or a low amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood either during rest or exercise, as determined a low partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) and high partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2).

Winning the Benefits You Deserve

Since many applications are rejected during the initial claim stage, applicants are often forced to appeal the SSA’s decision. Even if the decision is overturned, it can take up to two years before you are able to receive benefits.

The process to receive SSD benefits can be complex. Applicants are often denied due to missing information or other administrative errors. This is why it’s in your best interest to consult with a qualified disability attorney.

 The Disability Attorneys of Michigan Are Here to Help

For 20 years, Disability Attorneys of Michigan has helped the disabled of Michigan obtain the Social Security Disability Benefits they deserve. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949-2900.

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.