Filing For Disability With Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems.  The degenerative nature of cystic fibrosis can be the basis for a finding of disability. CF affects about 30,000 people in the United States.

In persons with CF, a defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • Clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections.
  • Obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients.

People with CF can have a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Very salty-tasting skin
  • Persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
  • Frequent lung infections
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Poor growth and slow weight gain, in spite of a good appetite
  • Frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty in bowel movements

Cystic Fibrosis is included in Social Security Administration’s list of medical conditions that are used to evaluate disability applications.  Cystic Fibrosis will be evaluated under Listing 3.04.  To meet listing 3.04, you must satisfy the criteria below:

3.04 Cystic fibrosis. With:

A. An FEV1 equal to or less than the appropriate value specified in table IV corresponding to the individual’s height without shoes. (In cases of marked spinal deformity, see. 3.00E.);


B. Episodes of bronchitis or pneumonia or hemoptysis (more than bloodstreaked sputum) or respiratory failure (documented according to 3.00C, requiring physician intervention, occurring at least once every 2 months or at least six times a year. Each inpatient hospitalization for longer than 24 hours for treatment counts as two episodes, and an evaluation period of at least 12 consecutive months must be used to determine the frequency of episodes;


C. Persistent pulmonary infection accompanied by superimposed, recurrent, symptomatic episodes of increased bacterial infection occurring at least once every 6 months and requiring intravenous or nebulization antimicrobial therapy.

Table IV

(Applicable only for evaluation under
3.04A – cystic fibrosis)

Height without Shoes (centimeters) Height without Shoes (inches) FEV1Equal to or less than (L,BTPS)

154 or less

60 or less

















180 or more

71 or more


If you do not meet or equal the above listings, you can still qualify for disability benefits if the impairment prevents the person from doing his or her past relevant work or other work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.