Always Accessible & Available for You Schedule a Free Consultation

SSA Listing 3.04-Cystic Fibrosis

Social Security Disability benefit criteria for those unable to work June 6, 2023

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive genetic disorder that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Individuals with CF often face significant challenges in their daily lives, including frequent hospitalizations and compromised lung function. In cases where CF severely impacts an individual's ability to work, Social Security Disability benefits may be available. In this blog post, we will explore the specific criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for CF-related disability benefits. Understanding these guidelines is crucial for individuals seeking financial assistance and support during their CF journey.

FEV1 Criteria:

To qualify for CF-related disability benefits, individuals must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • FEV1 Measurement: The Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1) should be equal to or less than the values specified in Table VII-A or VII-B, depending on age, gender, and height without shoes. These values are measured in liters (L) and should be documented by medical professionals.

Exacerbations, Complications, and Medical Interventions:

Apart from the FEV1 criterion, individuals may qualify for disability benefits if they experience specific exacerbations, complications, or medical interventions related to CF. The options include:

  • Hospitalizations: Three hospitalizations related to CF within a 12-month period, with each hospitalization lasting any length of time and occurring at least 30 days apart.

  • Spontaneous Pneumothorax: Presence of spontaneous pneumothorax, a collapsed lung, requiring chest tube placement as a result of CF-related complications.

  • Respiratory Failure: Requirement of invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation with BiPAP, or a combination of both for a continuous period of at least 48 hours (or 72 hours if postoperatively) due to CF-related respiratory failure.

  • Pulmonary Hemorrhage: Experience of pulmonary hemorrhage, characterized by significant bleeding in the lungs, requiring vascular embolization as a means to control the bleeding.

  • Oxygen Saturation Levels: Oxygen saturation levels, measured by pulse oximetry, equal to or less than the values specified in Table VIII on two separate occasions within a 12-month period. These measurements can be taken at rest, during a 6-minute walk test (6MWT), or after a 6MWT.

  • Multiple Exacerbations or Complications: Occurrence of two exacerbations or complications, either two of the same or two different, within a 12-month period. Examples include pulmonary exacerbations requiring intravenous antibiotic treatment, hospitalization due to pulmonary hemorrhage (without embolization), significant weight loss requiring nutritional support, or cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CFRD) requiring daily insulin therapy.

Cystic fibrosis presents unique challenges for individuals living with the condition. If CF significantly affects an individual's ability to work and maintain employment, Social Security Disability benefits may provide crucial financial assistance and support. Understanding the specific criteria outlined by the SSA, such as FEV1 measurements, hospitalizations, interventions, and complications related to CF, is essential for determining eligibility. If you or someone you know meets any of the criteria mentioned above, it may be worth exploring the possibility of applying for disability benefits. Remember to gather all relevant medical documentation and seek professional guidance to navigate the application process effectively. Social Security Disability benefits can provide essential resources and financial aid to individuals living with CF, helping them manage their condition and improve their quality of life.