Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Chronic Bronchitis?
- About Chronic Bronchitis and Disability
- How to Get Disability Benefits for Chronic Bronchitis by Meeting a Listing
- Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Chronic Bronchitis
- Getting Your Doctor’s Medical Opinion About What You Can Still Do
If you have chronic bronchitis, Social Security disability benefits may be available. To determine whether you are disabled by your chronic bronchitis, the Social Security Administration first considers whether it is severe enough to meet or equal a listing at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. See How to Get Disability Benefits for Chronic Bronchitis by Meeting a Listing. If you meet or equal a listing because of your chronic bronchitis, you are considered disabled. If your chronic bronchitis is not severe enough to equal or meet a listing, the Social Security Administration must assess your residual functional capacity (RFC) (the work you can still do, despite the chronic bronchitis), to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits at Step 4 and Step 5 of the Sequential Evaluation Process.
In cases of chronic bronchial bacterial infection, the bronchus is so damaged and enlarged (dilated) that infection tends to be perpetuated. Chronic coughing may produce a foul-smelling sputum resulting from the infected material, but such a productive cough can be absent. Chronic bronchitis can be localized (focal) or involve larger areas of bronchial lung tissue. Fever may result from the presence of infection. However, unless disease is extensive, shortness of breath is not a feature. Shortness of breath is more likely in concurrent cigarette smokers with emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Cor pulmonale (heart disease caused by lung disease) resulting from chronic bronchitis and leading to heart failure is very rare. Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) is common, but is usually minor, consisting of small flecks or streaking of blood in sputum. The mechanism for massive hemoptysis that might satisfy the listing for chronic bronchitis should be discussed, although unusual. In chronic bronchitis, the bronchial arteries of the injured tissue may have a tendency to bleed. They can form abnormal connections (anastomoses) to nearby normal pulmonary arteries. These pulmonary arteries are part of the body’s systemic circulation. If the abnormal bronchial arteries in the bronchiectatic area bleed, hemoptysis can be massive, even as much as 250 milliliters of blood a day. See Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Chronic Bronchitis.
Causes of Chronic Bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis is a complication of any persistent bacterial infection, such as may occur in association with cystic fibrosis or chronic persistent lung infections.With the advent of modern antibiotics, chronic bronchitis is much less common, but it still occurs. In some cases, long-term antibiotics are necessary for control. Offending organisms may be staphylococcus, hemophilus, pseudomonas, and others types of bacteria. Surgery may be necessary to remove the infected area of lung.