Asthma-and-Disability

Everything You Need to Know About Asthma

Asthma is a common disease of the airways that causes symptoms such as breathing difficulties, tightness in the chest, coughing, and gasping. Asthma causes bronchial tube inflammation and narrowing, resulting in restricted airflow and difficulty in breathing.

When people who have asthma are exposed to triggers, these muscles tighten, the lining of the airways swell, and the airways can become clogged with mucus. As a result, breathing becomes extremely difficult, resulting in asthma symptoms or an asthma exacerbation, also known as an asthma attack. Asthma currently has no cure, but it can be managed with proper treatment. 

Many people who face severe asthmatic attacks face stress complications due to long term health conditions. A chronic disabling condition can turn your world upside down. At this point, you may want to sit down with a legal professional to discuss your options. 

Is asthma considered a disability?

Asthma can strike at any age, but it is unknown why some people develop the disease while others do not. This is because asthmatics have more sensitive airways than the general population. Asthma, however, is not contagious. 

You will not necessarily develop the condition simply because you have a parent who has asthma (or an allergy). If one or both of your parents has asthma or allergies, you are, however, more likely to develop it as well. Researchers are not yet sure why this happens.

Signs and symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person. Asthma symptoms can also change over time, with some people experiencing few or no symptoms when their asthma is well controlled. Shortness of breath is a common sign and symptom of poorly controlled asthma.

  • Coughing regularly
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Increased mucus production
  • Sleeping problems because of breathing difficulties
  • Being unable to participate in physical activities due to breathing difficulties

These symptoms may appear gradually over hours or days, or they may appear suddenly as recurring attacks, after which the symptoms may persist for some time before disappearing. You may be entitled to disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) if these symptoms become severe and hinder you from doing daily chores. 

When asthmatic symptoms continue over a prolonged period and do not get any better despite trying several medications, you may qualify for benefits. Asthamatic people also tend to suffer depression due to prolonged health conditions. If you decide to file a disability claim, make sure you understand the eligibility criteria, documents needed in support of your case, and other details.

What Is the Cause or Trigger of Asthma?

Asthmatics have inflamed airways that are sensitive to things that do not bother others. These are known as “triggers.” Asthma triggers differ from one person to the next. Some people react to a small number of stimuli, while others respond to many stimuli.

When you have asthma, it is critical to keep track of the causes or triggers that affect you. Often, symptoms do not appear right after exposure to a trigger, so that this process may require some amount of detective work. Depending on the type of trigger and how sensitive a person is to it, delayed asthma episodes may occur. Some other things that can cause trouble are:

  1. Allergies (Allergic Asthma) – Allergens (substances that cause allergies) can cause asthma. If you inhale something to which you are allergic, you may develop asthma-like symptoms. Among the most common allergens that cause allergic asthma are cockroaches, dust mites, pollen, rodents, molds, etc.
  2. Irritants in the air – Irritating substances in the environment can also trigger an asthma attack. Although some items are not allergenic, they can irritate inflamed, sensitive airways. Wood fires, smoke from cigarettes, smog, fumes, vapors, or odors (such as gasoline, paint, perfumes, and scented soaps) can cause trouble.
  3. Other Health Issues – Certain comorbidities can also increase asthma symptoms, such as obesity, pregnancy, sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pneumonia, rhinitis
  4. Medicines – Medicines such as aspirin and NSAIDs can also trigger asthma.
  5. Expressing Strong Emotions – Even if you do not have asthma, your breathing changes when you experience intense emotions such as anger, crying, excitement, yelling. In people who have asthma, excitability may lead to wheezing or other asthma symptoms.

Can you get disability benefits for asthma?

If you meet the requirements for adult asthma according to the Blue Book listing, your claim for disability for asthma may be quickly approved. Suppose you are an adult and do not qualify under the asthma listing. In that case, Social Security will consider the limitations your asthma imposes on your ability to work a regular job. Social Security will evaluate your residual functional capacity (RFC), which analyzes what you can do in spite of your impairments.

If you can demonstrate that your asthma condition meets or equals the degree of severity described in the SSA Listing of Impairments, also known as the “Blue Book,” you could be eligible for benefits.

There are two requirements for the asthma listing:

  • You must have had three exacerbations or complications that required hospitalization for at least 48 hours in the previous year. The hospitalizations had to be at least 30 days apart.
  • According to Social Security’s chart in its asthma listing, your FEV1 value (forced expiratory volume – i.e., the results from a lung function test) must be lower than expected for your age, gender, and height.

Alternatively, if you have chronic bronchitis in addition to asthma (also commonly referred to as chronic asthmatic bronchitis), you may be able to qualify for benefits based solely on the results of a lung function or breathing test. The SSA will check detailed medical records to see the extent of your disabling conditions. So, make sure you submit all valid documents along with the application. 

Medical Records needed in this process include documentation of each of your asthma attacks that necessitated hospitalization or emergency treatment, including spirometry test results and arterial blood gas studies (ABGS) results while you were in the hospital. Each episode’s record should also include what treatment was given, how long it was given, and how well you responded to it. When you are applying for Disability Benefits Over 50, please review the SSA’s specific rules for older adults.

Furthermore, your medical records must show that you have been following your doctor’s orders for at-home treatment (for example, using your inhaler).

Do not panic and initiate the legal process

The application and appeal process are undoubtedly complicated. Legal professionals know disability law, eligibility criteria, documents needed, and other things that can be complex for the average person to understand. If you choose to hire a Social Security disability lawyer, they will handle everything on your behalf and talk to responsible authorities to strengthen your case. 

We can represent you and ensure that you have open lines of communication with the Social Security Administration, ensuring that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.