Q Will I have to wait for my Social Security benefits if I have cystic fibrosis?
There are two ways to get Social Security benefits for cystic fibrosis. The first is an automatic approval based on the severity of your breathing disabilities. In order to get expedited disability payments for CF, you must be able to provide the SSA with medical evidence in one of the following ways:
- Chronic lung problems. You should include any medical evidence of lung problems in your application, including treatment for pneumonia, bronchitis, or respiratory failure. Attacks that occur at least every other month—or six times per year—qualify a CF patient for automatic approval.
- Recurring pulmonary infections. Any bacterial infections in the lungs can be potentially life-threatening, and can permanently restrict your breathing capacity. Any hospital-administered nebulizer treatment or IV antibiotics that are given once every six months may qualify you for expedited disability payments.
- Pulmonary function test results. New Jersey CF patients with poor spirometry test results may be approved for benefits more quickly if their breathing capacity has deteriorated significantly. These include patients whose FEV1 measurements are between 1.45 and 2.05—depending on the patient’s height.
If you do not meet these qualifications, you may still be able to get benefits based on how much you are limited by your condition. CF patients may be under strict order from their doctors to take frequent rest breaks and to avoid overexertion, which can limit your position at work. You may also suffer prolonged coughing fits as a result of mucus buildup that is triggered by the conditions in your workplace. Lastly, you may react in certain ways to your medication—becoming dizzy or fatigued easily—that can affect your working ability.
To find out how to get your benefits approved as soon as possible, click the contact link on this page to tell us about your case and get answers to your questions.