Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or COPD is a severe breathing condition that causes a variety of problems that can make it difficult to live your life and work, often making disability payments a necessity. However, working with COPD can actually help slow the decay of the disease.
Problems Caused By COPD
When you develop COPD, you are suffering from a series of severe and related breathing disorders. It isn't one blanket condition, but several problems. The complexity of them creates a degenerative problem that only gets worse over time. When you have COPD, you are going to suffer from a variety of difficulties, including:
- Increasing struggles with breathing
- Consistent shortness of breath, even when at rest
- Frequent lung problems (like pneumonia)
- Decreased bone mass
- Difficulty sleeping
- Collapsed lungs
- Potential heart failure
Early in your condition, it's going to be relatively easy to stay at work and continue with your duties. When people are diagnosed with COPD, they often have the impulse to quit their job immediately and receive benefits. However, working is actually a great way to slow its progress.
How Work Can Help With COPD
Studies have found that working or sustained exercise strengthen lung muscles and help make them more resistant to the decline of COPD. While not a cure, it can help. Sadly, as your symptoms of COPD worsen, you may need some help performing your job duties. However, your employer can help you stay on the job by:
- Giving you special medical devices (such as lifts past stairs)
- Moving your office to a lower floor (to decrease walking distance)
- Changing your duties to be less strenuous
- Shortening your work days
- Installing air filters near you to make breathing easier
When You Can No Longer Work
Unfortunately, there is going to come a time when you can no longer fulfill your job duties. At this point, you'll need to file for disability benefits, a process that can be a major hassle. First of all, you need to be diagnosed with the problem by receiving a test known as a spirometry.
Then, your condition is going to need to fall under one of the social security listings for COPD benefits, such as chronic pulmonary insufficiency. This condition comes about in many ways, including inability to inhale and exhale at an appropriate level and an inability to sufficiently oxygenate your blood.
Gauging if you fall under this heading requires a medical assessment and a good disability lawyer who is willing to fight for your rights. The increasing prevalence of this condition make it more difficult to obtain benefits for it, but a good lawyer will make sure you don't fall through the coverage cracks. Contact a business, such as Cohen & Siegel LLP, for more information.Share