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Asthma is a common respiratory condition that causes the airways to become inflamed and narrow, making breathing difficult for the sufferer. Most cases of asthma are easily manageable, but more severe cases can significantly disrupt the sufferer’s life and even result in life-threatening asthma attacks. Individuals who have severe asthma may be entitled to Social Security disability benefits if their condition prevents them from working. Our Baltimore asthma disability attorney can help people with asthma obtain the benefits they deserve. 

What Causes Asthma?

It is unclear exactly what causes asthma or why some people suffer from it while others don’t. It is commonly understood that asthma attacks are caused by certain “triggers” that result in spasms of the bronchial muscles, accompanied by swelling, inflammation, and mucus. Such attacks make it difficult for the sufferer to breathe, necessitating the use of emergency inhalers in many cases. Some common asthma triggers include: 

  • Airborne allergens
  • Air pollutants
  • Respiratory infections
  • Strenuous physical activity
  • Cold or dry air 
  • Certain medications
  • Emotional stress
  • Sulfites and preservatives
  • Heartburn 

Most asthma attacks subside within a few minutes to a few hours after treatment, although more severe asthma attacks may not be treatable at home and require hospitalization. 

Classification of Asthma

People living with Asthma experience the condition at different levels of severity. There are generally four classifications of asthma: 

  • Mild intermittent: Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month
  • Mild persistent: Symptoms more than twice a week, but not more than once a day
  • Moderate persistent: Symptoms once a day and more than one night per week
  • Severe persistent: Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night

Doctors use various tests to measure the severity of a patient’s asthma, including spirometry, peak flow metering, methacholine challenges, imaging tests, allergy testing, and nitric oxide tests. 

Asthma Is a Covered Condition Under the Social Security Disability Program 

Asthma is a covered condition under the Social Security disability program, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) must determine that a claimant’s condition meets a certain severity to be eligible for benefits. Individuals claiming Social Security disability benefits for asthma will qualify if they meet the following two conditions: 

  1. An FEV1  less than or equal to the values specified in Table VI: FEV1, Criteria for 3.03A in the SSA’s Blue Book for the claimant’s age, gender, and height. FEV1 is measured by spirometry and indicates how well air moves in and out of the patient’s lungs. 
  2. Exacerbations or complications requiring three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, including hours in a hospital emergency department immediately before the hospitalization.

Applicants can prove that they meet the above qualifications by submitting the results of spirometry tests, hospital admissions records, and evidence that they have been complying with treatments ordered by their doctors, along with any other medical evidence to support their case. 

Contact a Baltimore Asthma Disability Attorney Who Can Help You Evaluate the Merits of Your Case 

If you think you may qualify for disability benefits due to asthma, you should consider contacting an attorney who can help you evaluate the merits of your case and make the strongest claim possible. To get started, please contact Baltimore asthma disability attorney Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form