How to Claim Social Security Disability for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    If your illness strains your breathing, it interferes with just about anything you do, including working. You feel the strain in your financial life, too.

    Living with the kind of tight breathing, wheezing, coughing and exhaustion that comes with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may make you eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.

    You qualify for benefits when your COPD is severe enough that you can’t work.

    Benefits, including monthly checks, give you a better economic foundation for taking care of your health.

    First, though, you have to satisfy multiple rules and submit highly technical medical information about your lung capacity and your overall functioning to Social Security.

    The easiest way is to work with a Social Security Disability lawyer who does the legwork for you. You pay no attorney fee until you win benefits.

    Wells, Manning, Eitenmiller & Taylor has disability lawyers in Eugene-Springfield, Albany, Roseburg, Coos Bay and Medford, helping people all over Oregon.

    Our attorneys have extensive experience with disability applications for medical conditions like COPD.

    Let us help you make your disability claim—and claim a more stable life.

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    Medical Evidence You Need to Qualify for Disability with COPD

    COPD can be caused by injury from breathing harmful gases, breathing dangerous particles and smoking, says the Mayo Clinic. It often involves having emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

    The American Lung Institute says millions of Americans have COPD, and it is a major cause of disability.

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) expressly says that you can get disability benefits for COPD if your case blocks you from working. It’s one of many conditions in their listing of impairments for respiratory disorders.

    And the SSA goes into detail about the kinds of evidence you must submit to claim disability benefits for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:

    • Tests of your air flow (spirometry)
    • Measures of how well your lungs process gases (DLCO test)
    • Measures of oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen and other gases in your blood (ABG test)
    • Percentage of oxygen in your blood’s hemoglobin (pulse oximetry)
    • Tests taken while resting
    • Tests taken while exercising (if it’s safe)
    • Physical exam reports
    • Medical imaging (such as x-rays)
    • Laboratory tests
    • A write-up of your medical history
    • Descriptions of your treatment and how well it has worked

    You don’t necessarily have to have all of these documents. Every individual case is different.

    Knowing what medical records you need, collecting them and presenting them to Social Security are all tasks that your Social Security Disability attorney can handle for you—so you can rest easier.

    You can start by talking to the Wells, Manning, Eitenmiller & Taylor disability attorney team for a no-cost conversation about your needs.

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    Why Can It Be Tough To Get Disability Benefits for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

    The difficult bar you have to clear to win disability benefits for COPD, or any medical condition, is that you must be unable to work any substantial amount in any job for the long term.

    COPD is a long-term lung disease, according to the Lung Association, which increases your chances of meeting the Social Security rule that your limiting condition must last at least a year.

    But the Lung Association also says COPD is often treatable. This is where the specifics of your case, and the way you build your case for benefits, make a difference.

    If treatment allows you to function on a high level, that’s great news. But you may be denied for disability benefits. Almost 80 percent of people applying for disability benefits for all kinds of impairments get denied, at least at first, and they need to appeal.

    An experienced disability lawyer can factor in many other aspects of your situation besides just your medical records to help you prove your case. This includes:

    • Your age, which affects whether Social Security thinks you could adapt to a new kind of job
    • A transferable skills analysis, which considers your work history and ability to move to a less strenuous job
    • Your “residual functional capacity,” which is an independent measure of the level of physical activity you can handle
    • Any other medical conditions you have and how those may combine with COPD to rule out working
    • Statements from people who personally know you who can confirm how your labored breathing impacts your everyday life

    If COPD is disrupting your life and livelihood, you can feel like you’re struggling for air—literally and in terms of your financial stability.

    Then when you try to find support, you face an overwhelming government system.

    The disability lawyers at Wells, Manning, Eitenmiller & Taylor have more than 60 years of combined experience dealing with this process.

    We’re here to be your advocates, providing personal attention in an impersonal system.

    Don’t be left to fend for yourself with life-changing COPD. Let us help you get the full advantage of all the available help you are entitled to receive.

    Contact Us Today! »

    Have a Question about Disability Benefits?

    Your health is bad. You can’t work. Your financial stability is threatened. So your head is swimming with questions. How will you get by? How does Social Security Disability work? We’ve gathered answers. See them here:

    Disability FAQs »

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