Changes to Social Security Listing for Lung Disease

Changes to Social Security Disability Listing
for Respiratory & Lung Diseases

The Social Security Administration has finally made long overdue updates to its “disability listings” for respiratory and pulmonary (lung) disorders – for the first time in more than 20 years. Our Long Beach Social Security lawyers are pleased to report that these updates are actually quite significant. And, these changes may positively affect the cases of Social Security Disability applicants with breathing and lung diseases

Previously, six hospitalizations required to prove the severity of a chronic respiratory disorder (other than cystic fibrosis). That number has been lowered from six to three hospitalization within a one year period. (Note that the hospitalizations must now last at least 48 hours).

The new SSA official “Blue Book” listing also reduces the number of episodes requiring physician intervention that are required to prove the severity of a patient’s asthma, cystic fibrosis, or bronchiectasis.

Hopefully these changes may mean that patients suffering from respiratory diseases may not have to wait as long until they qualify to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

Additionally, a new listing for respiratory failure has been added that covers any chronic breathing disorder (other than cystic fibrosis) that requires treatment by invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation with BiPAP (or a combination of the two) for:

  • a continuous two days
  • a continuous three days if used postoperatively, or
  • twice within one year (at least one month apart).

The listing for lung transplants has also been expanded. Previously Social Security applicants who had a lung transplant were considered as having a disability for only one year. Now they will be considered to be disabled for three years from the date of their lung transplant.

Perhaps in a slight step backwards, three disorder listings have been removed as being “unnecessary”:

  • pneumoconiosis,
  • mycobacterial and other infections, and
  • sleep-related breathing disorders

The Social Security Administration guidelines now says that these disabilities will be evaluated under the listing under the listing applicable to the affected body system. For example, if a sleep-related disorder results in hypertension or chronic heart failure it will be evaluated according to those criteria – rather than under a separate sleep disorder listing.

Long Beach Social Security Disability Attorneys: 562-622-4800