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Winning Disability Benefits for Emphysema

A person with emphysema may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if the condition is so bad that it meets the level of severity that the Social Security Administration (SSA) has listed or if your symptoms keep you from holding a full-time job, considering your age, education, and experience.

The assistance of an experienced New York disability attorney will be imperative in meeting the requirements of the Listing and proving disability based on emphysema.

Meeting a Listing

The SSA does not recognize emphysema as a separate and named listing impairment, so it may be harder to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. However, if your symptoms are severe enough, you may meet the SSA Listing 3.02 for chronic pulmonary insufficiency.

There are three parts to Listing 3.02. Meeting any one of the three parts is sufficient to qualify for benefits.

To meet the first part of the listing (3.02A), you will be tested with a device called a “spirometer.” A spirometer measures how much air you can exhale. In technical terms, this is called your “forced expiratory volume,” or FEV.

To meet the second part of the listing (3.02B), you will also be tested with a spirometer to measure how much air you expel from the lungs after a maximum inspiration. In technical terms, this is called your “forced vital capacity” or FVC.

The SSA has a table listing different FEV and FVC scores for different heights. If either of your scores is lower than the score listed for your height, you will be found disabled.

To meet the third part of the listing (3.02C), one of three different tests will be used to test how well your lungs work in taking in oxygen and exchanging it for carbon dioxide to breathe out. If the score for any one of these tests is lower than the predicted normal value listed in the chart, you will be found disabled.

Meeting any of these three requirements can be complicated so do not hesitate to enlist the help of a skilled New York disability attorney.

If You Don’t Meet a Listing

Even if you fail to meet the requirements of Listing 3.02A, 3.02B or 3.02C, you may be deemed disabled if your emphysema prevents you from performing the jobs you had during the 15 years prior to your disability. The SSA will assess your ability to work despite the restrictions of your emphysema by evaluating your “residual functional capacity” (RFC) using a series of charts or grids.

If you are diagnosed with emphysema and would like to look into the possibility of receiving Social Security disability benefits, you should contact a New York disability lawyer to discuss the circumstances of the diagnosis and the disabling effects of the condition on the ability to engage in gainful employment.