Breathing Easier With SSD

Did you know that the normal respiration rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute? That means that the average person is taking at least 17,280 breaths every day. And chances are, they’re probably not paying much attention to the importance of each individual breath. While breathing plays a vital role within the human body, it’s something that many people take for granted.

But if you have a breathing disorder, you know just how important breathing is!

Types of Breathing Disorders

Breathing disorders are health conditions that affect or prevent proper lung functions. They make it difficult for the body to take in or expel air. There are many types of breathing disorders, ranging from cancer to sleep apnea to conditions caused by infections. Some of the more common types of breathing disorders include:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis

Some breathing conditions, like cystic fibrosis, are genetic and affect people from early childhood. Others emerge later in life or are triggered by certain conditions. COPD, for example, is typically caused by smoking. Sleep apnea might be associated with obesity and lung cancer might be caused by environmental factors, like chemical exposure in the workplace. But regardless of the cause, many breathing disorders are chronic, which means they last for a long time or consistently reoccur.

The Impact of Breathing Disorders

When someone has a chronic breathing disorder, it can have an impact on their daily life. Because most breathing disorders hinder proper breathing, people with breathing issues might have trouble getting through basic tasks, like cleaning the house or driving to the grocery store. They might feel winded or fatigued after any kind of exertion, and have trouble doing hobbies or activities they used to enjoy, particularly sports or other recreational activities. When breathing issues get in the way of exercise, it can also lead to an array of other health issues, like unhealthy weight gain or heart problems.

Breathing disorders might also impact a person’s ability to work. If their job requires any kind of strenuous activity, like lifting boxes or standing for long periods of time, decreased breathing functions can cause difficultly. Even in jobs that don’t require a lot of physical exertion, breathing disorders can still be an issue. For example, someone who loses sleep due to sleep apnea might be too exhausted to perform even simple tasks, or someone with severe asthma might be sensitive to cleaning chemicals around the office.

Qualifying for SSD

When someone has a severe breathing disorder that affects their ability to work, they might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. The requirements for SSD depend on the specific health condition, but overall, a condition must:

  • last at least 12 months
  • impact the ability to perform any kind of work

Since a condition has to last at least a year before someone can qualify for SSD, some lung conditions, like tuberculosis and pneumonia, might not qualify. This is because these are typically temporary conditions which can be treated through antibiotics or other medications, and usually go away after a period of treatment. In some cases, however, lung conditions can cause long-term damage or spread to other areas in the body. When this happens, the complications from a lung issue might qualify someone for SSD.

For a breathing condition to qualify for SSD, it must also impact their ability to perform any kind of work. So if someone with COPD can no longer lift heavy boxes but can still type at a computer, their ability to perform an office job might disqualify them for SSD. To determine if someone is able to perform any kind of work, the Social Security Administration considers factors like:

  • Breathing capacity
  • Frequency of hospitalizations
  • Other health conditions directly caused by the breathing disorders, like severe weight loss, high blood pressure, or decreased oxygen

Breathing disorders can have a large physical, emotional, and financial toll. Without proper breathing capacity, even everyday activities can be difficult and sometimes dangerous. Thankfully, SSD benefits can help people and their loved ones get through the strains of a breathing disorder.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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