The Social Security Administration (SSA) has revised its listing for asthma (3.03), effective October 7, 2016. If you meet a listing, provided you do not have a job, you will be considered disabled without regard to your age, education or work history.

The new listing includes criteria that are based upon displaying a forced expiration volume below a specific level. Forced expiration volume is a measure of the volume of air you can exhale in the first second of a pulmonary function test. The new listing references a table that is divided according to age, gender and height. With that, if you’re below the requisite forced expiration volume in a valid test, taken while you are in a state of stability, you will be considered disabled.

The biggest change is in the number of exacerbations that must occur within a year, and how they are defined. Under the existing listing, if you have attacks occurring at least once every two months, or at least six times a year, you’re considered disabled, with each inpatient hospitalization for longer than 24 hours counting as two attacks.

Under the new listing, only three attacks must occur within a 12-month period. However, the attacks must last at least 48 hours, including the time in the emergency room prior to the inpatient admission. Furthermore, all of the attacks must occur during the period of disability. That is, if you have two attacks, then lose your job, then have the third attack, the first two attacks don’t count.

Finally, the most important change is that a person who meets the standard is considered under a disability for only one year from the discharge date of the last hospitalization. This is a radical change from the old standard, which left a person to be considered disabled for the indefinite future. Now, one year out from the last hospitalization, the residual impairment is assessed. That is, if you don’t have to keep being hospitalized, they’ll look at the impact on your ability to stand, walk, lift, carry and think.

As before, the agency recognizes that obesity may aggravate a respiratory disorder. Also, if the listing is not met, the agency will proceed to assess the limiting effects of the condition, whether it’s compatible with the work you have done in the past, and whether it precludes any other gainful employment.

If you need help apply for disability benefits– or if you were denied, call Don Pilzer today.

Get in touch today for a free consultation.


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