COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a condition that affects over 3 million people in the United States every year. There are four stages of the disease ranging from mild to very severe, and the effects of the disease will never go away.
If you applied for Social Security disability benefits for your COPD but you were denied, you have 60 days to file a claim and you need to act quickly so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to file again. These three tips will help you to make sure your appeal is as strong as it can possibly be.
Tip #1 - Look at All of the Side Effects
This step might seem simple, but you need to examine the impact of your COPD on all aspects of your ability to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to know whether you are capable of working in any job, so if your COPD is such that you cannot work for more than a half hour without a rescue inhaler, or if despite multiple breaks you are still unable to complete a task, then this could help build your case.
In some cases, the effects of the treatment might impact your ability to work as well. If you have been given steroids to help mitigate the COPD, you might experience a variety of side effects like inability to sleep, hyperactivity or shaky hands. These might prevent you from performing the tasks that you are assigned.
Tip #2 - Residual Functional Capacity (RFC)
Your physician can help complete a residual functional capacity form which outlines the maximum amount of work that you are capable of doing given your diagnosis.
The RFC is helpful because it effectively eliminates the guesswork regarding your specific case. While the SSA relies heavily upon the Blue Book for guidelines on medical conditions, the reality is that every case is different. That’s why the evidence is so important, as this helps the SSA to make a determination.
If your RFC says that your COPD, along with all side effects, prevents you from working - even in a modified setting - then this is the strongest evidence you have.
Tip #3 - Get More Testing
The process of filing for disability benefits can take a while. From starting your application to receiving a decision, months can pass and that means that if you were denied then it’s possible your situation could have changed in that span of time.
It’s possible that your COPD could have become worse since you initially applied for disability benefits, or when you applied you did not have the full battery of tests completed.
When considering an appeal, make sure you have as much testing completed as possible, including new testing that you might not have completed before. Remember, the more evidence you have, the stronger your case.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
As if applying for disability benefits wasn’t stressful enough, the appeal process can be even more challenging. You might consider working with a disability attorney who can help you gather the evidence you need to make your case as strong as possible.
Though working with an attorney does not guarantee that you will win your appeal, it can greatly improve your chances by having an attorney working on your behalf.
Another major benefit to working with a disability attorney is that there is very little risk. You will not have to pay fees upfront, and you only pay if you win your appeal, so it actually pays off to have someone working with you to make sure your appeal is as strong as possible.
To learn more about how a disability attorney might be able to help with your appeal, fill out a free case evaluation.