Chronic Pulmonary Disease: Legal Definition

Chronic pulmonary disease, also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a serious condition marked by lung inflammation and reduced airflow. 

Complications of COPD

The primary cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, although some people have developed it through exposure to other irritants.

Once a person develops COPD, their risk increases for developing a number of other life-threatening conditions, including lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Although COPD is incurable, you can reduce further damage to the lungs and reduce symptoms with proper treatment.

Symptoms of Chronic Pulmonary Disease

Once you start developing the symptoms of COPD, chances are good that your lungs have already suffered significant damage. You can slow the progression of this damage by making certain lifestyle changes, but you cannot reverse the damage that has been done.

The most common symptoms of COPD include:

  • Difficulty breathing, especially during exercise or physical activity
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Excess mucus production
  • Chronic cough with mucus production
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Low energy
  • Swollen feet or ankles
  • Unintended weight loss

Receiving Social Security Disability for Chronic Pulmonary Disease

If you have COPD and it affects your ability to work, you may be able to collect Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has certain criteria you must meet to receive benefits for COPD.

Due to the complex nature of the criteria and application process, we recommend you run your case by a Social Security disability lawyer.

If you received a diagnosis of COPD, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. There are two ways to get the benefits you need. The first is to meet all the criteria of the Blue Book entry for COPD. (The Blue Book is the SSA’s master list of approved conditions for disability.) The second is to make a case to Social Security officials that you are incapable of working because of your condition.

Blue Book Listing

The Blue Book’s listing for COPD highlights the criteria you must satisfy to get approved. They include:

  • A spirometry test measuring the amount of air you can exhale in one second
  • A DLCO test measuring your blood oxygen levels
  • An ABG test measuring your blood CO2 levels
  • A test measuring your oxygen saturation

You must have certain lab results on each of these tests to get approved for benefits based on a Blue Book listing. Otherwise, you can apply based on your inability to work.

Inability to Work

To show Social Security that you are unable to work because of your COPD, you can complete an evaluation called a residual functional capacity (RFC) test. This measures what type and level of activity you can do now that your condition has taken its toll.

Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Case Evaluation

If you have chronic pulmonary disease, a Social Security lawyer can help you apply for and receive disability benefits. For a free case evaluation, call the Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800.