If you suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), here are a few things you might what to know when filing for Social Security Disability.

When filing for Social Security Disability, the process can be overwhelming to many. This article is meant for use as a guideline. The hope is that it will assist someone with understanding what the Social Security Administration looks for when deciding whether to approve a claim. If you suffer from COPD, here are the doctors and tests that Social Security is looking for in your medical evidence to prove your claim.

The type of doctor you want to locate for COPD is a Pulmonologist. This type of doctor specializes in ailments that involve the lungs. The most noteworthy symptom of this disease is shortness of breath or dyspnea as it is call in the medical community. At first the shortness of breath symptom might only appear off and on with expending of physical energy. As the disease progresses, something as simple as standing up may be enough to make a person with COPD short of breath.

The following tests are used to diagnose Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Your primary doctor will more than likely start out with chest x-ray. Based on the information that produces, your doctor might follow up with a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan of the chest. The results of these tests, may lead to your primary doctor giving you a referral to a Pulmonologist. At some point, a pulmonary function test known as a Spirometry test should be performed. This measures lung function.[1] There are also tests like an Oximetry and arterial blood gas tests which are used to assess the gases exchanged in the lungs.[2]

 A Pulmonologist will be best equipped to perform the latter tests mentioned here and with their specialized knowledge of the lungs, they should be better informed on the best course of action to take with the results. Social Security will also use the test results mentioned above to determine whether a person’s COPD is severe enough to keep them from work at a Substantial Gainful Activity level for a year of longer.


[1] http://www.webmd.com/lung/copd/diagnostic-tests

[2] Id.

By Ty Samuels

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