A cough, tightness in the chest or difficulty in breathing can all indicate that something is wrong with your lungs. After a visit with your doctor, you might discover that you have a respiratory illness. Due to your condition, you might not be able to continue working at your current job. If so, you might receive coverage through Social Security’s disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration does not cover all respiratory problems, but there are many conditions that may qualify. The SSA website provides an overview of the respiratory illnesses it evaluates for disability benefits.
Signs and symptoms of qualifying illnesses
Since respiratory illnesses take different forms, Social Security does not limit its evaluation to just one type of condition. You might suffer from a disorder that makes it hard to move air into your lungs, or conversely, out of your lungs. Other illnesses may hamper the exchange of gases across the cell membranes in your lungs.
Certain symptoms and signs may develop that indicate you have a qualifying disorder. These include wheezing, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood from your lungs. You might also have rapid breathing or your body is using your upper rib muscles to draw in air to compensate for breathing problems.
Examples of respiratory illnesses
There are a variety of respiratory conditions that Social Security will evaluate to see if they qualify for disability. They include the following:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Chronic bronchitis
Additionally, Social Security will look at other conditions that cause respiratory problems. These include respiratory failure and chronic pulmonary hypertension. You may also qualify for benefits if you have breathing issues due to recent lung transplantation.
Evidence required for evaluation
To give your application for benefits the best chance of succeeding, you should have medical evidence that allows Social Security to evaluate how severe your respiratory condition is. Your medical history, medical test results, laboratory tests, imaging results, and documentation of your reaction to prescribed treatments may suffice, but the exact evidence you need will depend on the kind of illness or condition you have.