Recent wildfires in Glendale and Ventura County have made air quality especially difficult for those with breathing sensitivities in numerous parts of Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer Vincent Howard of HOWARD LAW understand that the South Coast Air Quality Management District has announced that the smoke is adversely impacting the air quality for numerous regions in the area, which is already known for struggles with smog and other air pollutants.
People who are battling emphysema in the Los Angeles may be keenly familiar that the generally poor air quality in this area serves only to worsen their condition.
Emphysema sufferers may qualify to receive federal disability benefits, but it's worth noting that a simple diagnosis alone won't be enough to ensure them.
Emphysema is a chronic lung condition that occurs when the air sacs in your lungs are slowly destroyed. This makes it gradually more and more difficult for the person to catch a breath. Primarily caused by smoking, it is one of a group of conditions known collectively as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD).
Emphysema is a condition that sadly never gets better, unless you are lucky enough to receive a lung transplant. Very few emphysema patients are healthy enough to undergo such an intensive surgery (though if you do go under the knife for this reason, you will be automatically granted disability benefits for at least a year).
However, treatment may help to slow its progression.
Individuals should seek treatment from a doctor if he or she is so short of breath that talking is difficult, fingernails or lips are turning blue, heartbeat is irregularly fast or mental alertness is diminished.
Many people who are diagnosed with emphysema go on to live productive lives by quitting smoking and undergoing regular treatments. However, sometimes the disease is so far gone that an individual may be incapable of continuing to work.
If you choose to pursue federal disability benefits, you would be well-advised to consult with an experienced disability lawyer to help you prove that your condition meets the rigorous standards for qualification.
As far as the Social Security Administration is concerned, it's a condition that is evaluated under the COPD listing, located in Section 3.02. The severity of your condition is based on your oxygen intake through measurements called forced expiratory volume (FEV) and your forced vital capacity (FVC).
So for example, let's say you are between 64 to 65 inches tall without your shoes. In this case your FEV would need to measure equal to or lesser than 1.25 FEV or an FVC that is equal to or lesser than 1.45.
The most common reason why people are denied disability benefits for emphysema is because they don't meet this threshold.
Even if you don't meet this requirement, however, you may still be eligible for benefits if your attorney, with the help of your extensive medical records, can show that the condition - or some combination of conditions - has affected you in such a way that you physically are unable to continue working. In this case, we would highlight your ability to do things like sit, stand, lift, communicate, focus - or anything else that might be required for you to continue to work.