Filing For Disability Benefits With COPD

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is one of the most common lung diseases and makes it difficult for the patient to breathe. Symptoms of COPD often include coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.  COPD includes two main conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Most people with COPD have both conditions.  COPD can be the basis for applying for disability benefits.  To determine whether the COPD prevents you from working and eligible for benefits, Social Security will assess your claim  under listing 3.02 for Chronic Pulmonary Insufficiency.

3.02 Chronic pulmonary insufficiency

A. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to any cause, with the FEV1equal to or less than the values specified in table I corresponding to the person’s height without shoes. (In cases of marked spinal deformity, see 3.00E.);

Table I

 

Height
without Shoes (centimeters)
Height without Shoes (inches) FEV1 Equal to or less than (L,BTPS)

154 or less

60 or less

1.05

155-160

61-63

1.15

161-165

64-65

1.25

166-170

66-67

1.35

171-175

68-69

1.45

176-180

70-71

1.55

181 or more

72 or more

1.65

or

B. Chronic restrictive ventilatory disease, due to any cause, with the FVC equal to or less than the values specified in Table II corresponding to the person’s height without shoes. (In cases of marked spinal deformity, see 3.00E.);

Table II

Height
without Shoes (centimeters)
Height
without Shoes (inches)
FVC Equal to or less than (L,BTPS)
154 or less 60 or less 1.25
155-160 61-63 1.35
161-165 64-65 1.45
166-170 66-67 1.55
171-175 68-69 1.65
176-180 70-71 1.75
181 or more 72 or more 1.85

or

C. Chronic impairment of gas exchange due to clinically documented pulmonary disease. With:

1. Single breath DLCO (see 3.00Fl) less than 10.5 ml/min/mm Hg or less than 40 percent of the predicted normal value. (Predicted values must either be based on data obtained at the test site or published values from a laboratory using the same technique as the test site. The source of the predicted values should be reported. If they are not published, they should be submitted in the form of a table or nomogram); or

2. Arterial blood gas values of PO2 and simultaneously determined PCO2measured while at rest (breathing room air, awake and sitting or standing) in a clinically stable condition on at least two occasions, three or more weeks apart within a 6-month period, equal to or, less then the values specified in the applicable table III-A or III-B or III-C:

Table III-A

(Applicable at test sites less than 3,000 feet
above sea level)

 

Arterial PCO2(mm Hg) and Arterial PO2Equal to or Less than (mm Hg)

30 or below

65

31 . . . . .

64

32 . . . . .

63

33 . . . . .

62

34 . . . . .

61

35 . . . . .

60

36 . . . . .

59

37 . . . . .

58

38 . . . . .

57

39 . . . . .

56

40 or above

55

 


Table III-B

(Applicable at test sites 3,000 through 6,000 feet above sea level)

Arterial PCO2
(mm Hg) and
Arterial PO2Equal to or Less than (mm Hg)

30 or below

60

31 . . …… .

59

32 . . . . . 58

33 . . . . .

57

34 . . . . .

56

35 . . . . . .

55

36 . . . . . .

54

37 . . . . . .

53

38 . . . . . .

52

39 . . . . . .

51

40 or above

50

Table III-C

(Applicable at test sites over 6,000 feet above sea level)

Arterial
PCO2
(mm Hg)
and
Arterial PO2equal to or less than (mm Hg)

30 or below .

55

31 . . . . . . .

54

32 . . . . . . .

53

33 . . . . . . .

52

34 . . . . . . .

51

35 . . . . . . .

50

36 . . . . . . .

49

37 . . . . . . .

48

38 . . . . . . .

47

39 . . . . . . .

46

40 or above

45

or

 

 

3. Arterial blood gas values of PO2 and simultaneously determined PCO2during steady state exercise breathing room air (level of exercise equivalent to or less than 17.5 ml O2 consumption/kg/min or 5 METs) equal to or less than the values specified in the applicable table III-A or III-B or III-C in 3.02 C2.

If you do not meet listing 3.02, you still have a chance to qualify for benefits if it is determined that you cannot return to your previous job and there are no other jobs you can perform based on your age, education and residual functional capacity.