Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a potentially devastating progressive illness that reduces your lung capacity and makes performing strenuous activities much more difficult. In its more severe stages, COPD can make you dependant on oxygen tanks, and can make simply walking across a room nearly impossible. If you have COPD and are no longer able to work, applying for Social Security disability payments could help pay your bills and daily living expenses.
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Things you need
- Social Security number
- Proof of age
- Contact information of doctors, hospitals and clinics that provided care to you, and the dates of your visits
- Names and dosages of your current medications
- Medical records documenting your disease
- Laboratory and test results
- Summary of your work experience
- Most recent W-2
Gather your medical records, identifying documentation and other information listed above. The Social Security Administration will use these to determine your eligibility for disability payments.
Fill out an Application for Benefits and an Adult Disability Report Form. These are both available online (see Resources), or you can visit your local SSA office.
Provide any other information requested by the SSA. They may want you to visit a particular doctor or clinic for a lung capacity test or other testing that was not done by your doctors.
Tips and warnings
- If you don't have all of the required information and documents, apply anyway. Your Social Security office can help you get whatever you are missing.
- You must be over 18 years old to qualify for disability benefits. In addition, you must have paid into the system through previous employment, and have an illness or injury that will make it impossible for you to work for at least a year.
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