Do you have a respiratory condition that impairs your ability to perform everyday activities, such as performing the functions related to your job? You may have a disability that meets the criteria established by the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (the “Listings”). The Listing of Impairments lists impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). The assistance of an experienced disability attorney can help all applicants navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits.

For respiratory disorders, the Listing of Impairments evaluates respiratory disorders that result in obstruction (difficulty moving air out of the lungs) or restriction (difficulty moving air into the lungs), or that interfere with diffusion (gas exchange) across cell membranes in the lungs. Examples of such disorders and the listings used to evaluate them include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and pneumoconiosis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, respiratory failure, chronic pulmonary hypertension, lung transplantation, and cancers affecting the respiratory system). More significantly, the Listings define each of the above conditions and explain how such condition is evaluated for disability purposes.

The Listings also identify symptoms of respiratory disorders. Symptoms and other indications of respiratory disorders include dyspnea (shortness of breath), coughing, chest pain, wheezing, sputum production, hemoptysis (coughing up blood from the respiratory tract), use of accessory muscles of respiration, and tachypnea (rapid rate of breathing).

Of course, proving that you have a listed impairment requires medical evidence. The Listings provide the necessary documentation needed to evaluate a respiratory disorder. Medical evidence should include medical history, physical examination findings, the results of imaging, pulmonary function tests, other relevant laboratory tests, and descriptions of any prescribed treatment and the patient’s response to such treatment. The Listings also detail the requirements as to what constitutes an acceptable test and medical report for the specific tests used to diagnose and treat respiratory disorders.

I recently had a case where the woman was close to Listing level.  Sadly almost meeting a Listing is like almost being pregnant, it is of no real help in terms of an instant win. This woman had Emphysema complicated by persistent lung infections.  Being a younger individual under the regulations, and having a college degree with a sedentary work history, this was a HARD case. We approached it from a nontraditional standpoint:  because of the reduced lung function, she simply could not talk more than occasionally during a work day, and because of the persistent infection, she had to avoid the general public and public spaces known to harbor bacteria.   She needed a clean air work space.  We also developed proof that repetitive use of her arms would stress her respiratory musculature.   We were weaving together a series of restrictions that in combination would produce a compelling picture of disability.  We await a decision.

Hiring a qualified disability lawyer ensures the proper evaluation of your disability matter. To improve your chances of meeting all of the requirements for the allowance of a claim (and avoiding the denial of benefits), retain the services of a qualified Kentucky Social Security Disability attorney. Contact Sullivan Law Office today. We offer free consultations, so you have absolutely nothing to lose! We look forward to hearing from you. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.Identifying Your Disability Under The Listing Of Impairments: Respiratory Impairments