Disability Claims Based on Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis

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

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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 may interfere with an individual's ability to work.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) includes chronic asthmatic bronchitis as one of the respiratory disorders listed in its Blue Book, its official listing of disabilities. 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.

Unless you have recent spirometry results, 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, your FEV1 measure must be equal to or less than the values specified in the SSA table that corresponds to the individual's height without shoes. For example, a person who is 60 inches with an FEV1 less than 1.05 (L,BPTS) should qualify for disability benefits for his or her chronic asthmatic bronchitis. To learn more and see the FEV1 values required for COPD, see our article on disability for COPD.

Alternatively, if your FEV1 value is not low enough to qualify for disability, but you have frequent and severe asthma attacks despite following the prescribed treatment, you could qualify under the SSA's disability listing for asthma. The SSA will look at your medical record to determine the frequency and intensity of your asthmatic episodes. For more information, see our article on disability benefits for asthma

Updated by: , J.D.

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