Emphysema – COPD is a deterioration of the lungs (alveoli) most commonly caused by smoking.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
When a diagnosis of emphysema or COPD results in a long-term disability claim, smoking habits of the patient will be taken into consideration and may cause additional delays or denials by the insurer.
Emphysema/COPD disability is a diagnosis that should be handled by an experienced long-term disability insurance lawyer as early as possible.
The symptoms of emphysema include frequent lung infections, shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and fatigue, and frequent as a result of lack of oxygen.
The degree of breathing impairment is a key factor in determining long-term disability in emphysema and COPD patients.
Although emphysema / COPD impair physical ability, the insurer often sets a guideline for qualification that can cause denial in early phases of the disease. Physical restrictions that still allow the patient to perform his/her job to some degree may result in partial disability determinations, and increase the importance of legal intervention.
Treatments include lifestyle changes, steroids, inhalers and supplemental oxygen. Lung volume reduction therapy, removal of damaged lung tissue, and other advanced therapies may assist quality of life, but also may decrease the patient’s qualification under pulmonary efficiency guidelines set forth by the policy.
If you have been disabled due to emphysema or COPD, contact our office for long-term disability claim and appeal assistance.