The short answer to this question is “yes”. However, depending on your age and clinical findings, it may be a major obstacle. Individuals who are under the age of 50 must generally show that they are unable to perform any and all full-time employment due to their disabilities in order to qualify for disability benefits. Generally, individuals over 50 must show that they are unable to perform their past work that was performed on a full-time basis in the last 15 years and must show that they are limited to “at best” sedentary work (i.e. sit down work) or, if over 55, light work (generally standing or walking for 6 hours total and/or lifting 20 lbs. occasionally). Thus, it would be much easier to qualify for disability on the basis of asthma for someone 55 and older with past work involving heavy lifting or exertion or pulmonary irritants that would trigger asthma symptoms.
However, regardless of age or vocational factors, anyone who meets the clinical criterial laid out in Social Security “blue book” Listing 3.03 can qualify for disability benefits on the basis of asthma.
Listing 3.03 requires:
A. FEV1 less than or equal to the value in Table VI-A or VI-B (I have omitted the sizeable table from this post, but it is readily available online) for your age, gender, and height without shoes measured within the same 12-month period as the hospitalizations in part B (see below).
B. Exacerbations or complications requiring three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart (the 12-month period must occur within the period we are considering in connection with your application or continuing disability review). Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, including hours in a hospital emergency department immediately before the hospitalization.
What is an FEV1? An FEV1, or forced expiratory volume, is a measurement taken from a pulmonary function test. It calculates the amount of air that a person can force out of their lungs in 1 second. This testing is used in evaluating chronic lung diseases.
If you are suffering from asthma or debilitating respiratory issues and you are unable to work as a result, you should consult an experienced disability law firm.