Social Security Disability with Asthma

For most people, asthma is controllable by medication, however, for some people, asthma can be a chronic disability.

Steve, in San Marcos, California, would like to know if it’s possible to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) with frequent asthma attacks.

Asthma is listed on the Social Security’s listing of impairments in section 3.03 under “Respiratory System”. For most people, asthma is controllable by medication, however, for some people, asthma can be a chronic disability.

Social Security’s list of impairments has 2 listings for Asthma:

3.03A. Chronic asthmatic bronchitis. Evaluate under the criteria for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 3.02A;

3.03B. Attacks (as defined in 3.00C), in spite of prescribed treatment and 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 control of asthma counts as two attacks, and an evaluation period of at least 12 consecutive months must be used to determine the frequency of attacks.

If you suffer from asthma attacks, you will only meet the requirements if you have 6 or more attacks a year (once every 2 months) that require “physician intervention”. This means that if you are able to treat your asthma with an inhaler or a home nebulizer, then those attacks will not count. It is rare for somebody to meet this requirement.

If you do feel that you meet this requirement, you need to make sure that Social Security has all of the medical documents they need to verify this.

You can find the complete listing of impairments on Social Security’s website. If you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have been denied, talk with a disability attorney about your situation.