Disability Claims Based on Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis

Social Security recognizes chronic asthmatic bronchitis as a form of COPD.

Updated October 21, 2016

Chronic asthmatic bronchitis occurs when both asthma and chronic bronchitis are present. Those who suffer from chronic asthmatic bronchitis may experience coughing, wheezing, blood expectoration, and chest pains, along with production of phlegm and shortness of breath upon exertion. These symptoms, when severe and frequent, may interfere with an individual's ability to work.

Chronic asthmatic bronchitis is categorized as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and accordingly, chronic asthmatic bronchitis is usually evaluated the same way as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) "Blue Book," its official listing of disabilities, COPD is evaluated under the listing for chronic respiratory disorders. 

Unless you have recent spirometry results from pulmonary function tests (PFTs), the SSA will send you for a consultative exam after you apply for disability. The examination will include testing on a spirometer that measures your forced expiratory volume (FEV1), the measurement of how much breath is exhaled in one second.

To qualify for disability automatically, your FEV1 measure must be equal to or less than the values specified in the SSA table that corresponds to an individual's height, gender, and age. The values in Social Security's tables represent a severe restriction in breathing. For example, to qualify automatically for disability benefits for chronic asthmatic bronchitis, a man who is 69 inches tall must have an FEV1 less than 1.75 (L,BPTS).

Alternatively, if your FEV1 value is not low enough to qualify for disability, you could qualify for disability if you are frequently hospitalized due to asthma attacks or exacerbations or complications of your condition. (To learn more and see the FEV1 values required for COPD and chronic asthmatic bronchitis, see our article on disability for COPD.) 

NOLO-web3:DRU1.6.12.2.20161011.41205