If you’re having difficulty breathing, you might find a whole host of activities to be difficult to do. Asthma is one of those conditions that can make everyday activities more difficult or maybe even impossible. Anyone who is having difficulties going to work or doing their job due to asthma should look into the benefits that they might be able to receive through the Social Security Administration, which understands that there are conditions that people have that can make going to work and earning a living difficult or even impossible. And by looking at the Blue Book, finding out if a person might be eligible for payments is fairly simple.
What is Asthma?
The airways of a person having an asthma attack are constricting through swelling, and the lungs might also produce mucus, which can make breathing even more difficult. Because the airways are narrowing, people having asthma attacks find it more difficult to breathe, and they’ll likely begin to make wheezing sounds and coughing.
The severity of the asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people with asthma might only have mild symptoms that act up when they engage in physical activities. Other people might get airways that are so constricted that they are unable to breathe, and an attack could even be life-threatening if not treated properly. Additionally, the severity of asthma symptoms can change over a person’s life, so a doctor should monitor them to make sure that they’re getting the proper treatment for the severity of the patient’s asthma at the time.
No one knows for sure why some people get asthma and other people don’t develop it, but there’s a certain link between genetics and environment. Additionally, people who are prone to asthma are more likely to get an asthma attack if there are certain environmental factors present. One of these includes airborne allergens, such as mold spores, pet dander, and cockroach waste. Some other common triggers include having an infection or illness, such as the common cold, cold air, smoke, physical activity, stress, certain medications, sulfites in food, and having Gastrointestinal reflux disease.
Symptoms of Asthma
The frequency and severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, but there are certain symptoms that almost all people with asthma will experience. One of the most common ones is a wheezing sound when the person breathes out. This is especially common in children with asthma and is caused by the mucus that sometimes forms in the lungs during an asthma attack and the constricted airways.
Another symptom of asthma is coughing because the airways are constricted. Additionally, coughing and wheezing will be made worse by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or flu virus. Having difficulties with breathing is a universal symptom of asthma, and some people might even have difficulties sleeping because of their difficulties with breathing. Tightness and pain in the chest is also very common.
Additionally, people with asthma might notice over time that their symptoms are getting worse. They might begin to need to use their inhaler more often, and symptoms might become more frequent and go from merely a nuisance to a condition that could be life threatening.
The severity of the asthma can also be recorded on a device called a peak flow meter, which will measure how well a person’s lungs are working by measuring the amount of air that a person is able to blow. They can also test the amount of nitric oxide a person exhales, which will tell if the airways are inflamed.
There are medicinal treatments that doctors can prescribe to lessen the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, and there are behaviors that people with asthma can take to reduce the likelihood that they’ll be around triggers for their asthma attacks. There are two types of medicinal treatments: medicines that are given to provide long-term prevention of attacks and inhalers, which will open the airways when a person begins to have an attack.
Some of the most common forms of long-term asthma control include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, combination inhalers, and theophylline.
Corticosteroids are medications that can be either inhaled or taken orally. While the oral type can have side effects, inhaled corticosteroids generally don’t have any. It can take several weeks for the drug to have maximum effectiveness.
Leukotriene modifiers are taken orally. Although they can help people with their asthma, they can also trigger some side effects, such as hallucinations, depression, suicidal thoughts, agitation, and aggression.
Quick-relief inhalers provide instantaneous medication and relief via an inhaler so that the person can breathe quickly. They contain short-acting beta agonists that are released in the form of a mist to rapidly deliver medications to open airways.
Additionally, since some people’s asthma is worsened by allergies, some types of allergy medications are prescribed to lessen allergy symptoms.
Bronchial thermoplasty is sometimes used on people who have severe asthma that doesn’t respond to inhalers and other types of medicine. In this procedure, the airways are heated to reduce their ability to constrict, which can reduce the asthma symptoms in some people.
Disability Benefits for Asthma
There’s a specific listing for asthma in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, which is the reference book that’s used to determine who is eligible for benefits. Two of the first criteria that a person applying under this listing must meet are confirmation that the person has been diagnosed with asthma and that the symptoms are severe and chronic enough to prevent a person from going to work and adequately performing their job.
People with chronic asthmatic bronchitis will be evaluated under the listing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic pulmonary insufficiency.
Asthma attacks only are considered severe enough if they last for at least a day and are severe enough that they require an intravenous bronchodilator, an antibiotic administration, or a prolonged administration of inhalational bronchodilator therapy.
Applicants need to provide at least a 12 month history of records for the attacks and treatments used. Additionally, attacks must happen at least six times a year, which amounts to about one every other month. While it’s common for people with asthma to need an inhaler and to use it somewhat frequently, especially if they’re involved in sports, asthma attacks that can be controlled with an inhaler don’t count toward this number. Instead, the applicant must require attention from a physician.
People with asthma that is severe enough to prevent them from going to work can apply for both Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplementary Security Income benefits.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Asthma, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.