Bronchiectasis is a type of obstructive lung disease that destroys the body’s large airways. It is caused by chronic inflammation or infection of the airways. Bronchiectasis can be congenital (present at birth) or can develop later in life. Bronchiectasis is a common complication of cystic fibrosis and AIDs. Symptoms include: bluish skin color, wheezing, coughing up blood, weight loss, bad breath, and fatigue.
SSA Testing for Disability Benefits
The SSA will send you to a consultative exam to test your lung function, to see how much the disease has damaged your lungs. The test used by the SSA is called a spirometry test. A spirometry test measures how much you inhale and exhale with each breath and at what rate you breathe. The spirometry test used to determine your eligibility for disability specifically measures how much air you can force out in the first second of exhalation (known as FEV1).
To win approval for your disability claim, your diagnosis of bronchiectasis must be confirmed by chest x-ray or other diagnostic imaging and your bronchiectasis must either:
meet the listing requirements for chronic pulmonary insufficiency, or
- cause frequent episodes of bronchitis, pneumonia, bloody cough, or respiratory failure that are serious enough to require medical intervention. The episodes must occur at least once every two months or six times a year (you must be monitored over one year to evaluate the frequency of the episodes before being granted benefits). If you are hospitalized for more than 24 hours, this counts as two episodes.
For a description of how you can qualify due to a doctor's restrictions rather than on the above listings, as well as the basic requirements for a respiratory claim, see our article on disability for chronic pulmonary insufficiency.
If you have chronic lung infections but have not received a diagnosis of bronchiectasis, see our article on disability for chronic lung infections.