What is Pneumoconiosis?
Pneumoconiosis is a lung illness that affects miners, builders, and other occupations that expose employees to particular types of dust.
Dust accumulates in your lungs over time, and you may have difficulty breathing.
Other people may refer to pneumoconiosis as “black lung illness” or “popcorn lung.” While there is no cure, therapies can make it easier to breathe and carry out daily tasks.
Pneumoconiosis does not manifest itself immediately. It occurs after years of exposure to fine mineral or chemical particles, such as silica, coal dust, or asbestos. When dust particles accumulate in your lungs, your immune system — your body’s protection against infections — activates. It regards the dust particles as intruders and attempts to eliminate them.
During this procedure, your lung tissue is frequently irritated. As a result, scar tissue in your lungs may grow, just as it would following an accident. Due to the fact that scar tissue is less elastic than normal lung tissue, it may become more difficult for you to take a full, deep breath.
Numerous people who have pneumoconiosis develop complications such as:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing up a significant volume of mucous
- Constantly feeling out of breath
Applying for Social Security Disability regarding Pneumoconiosis
Pneumoconiosis is classified as a debilitating condition by the Social Security Administration and is included under Respiratory System in the Adult Listings of Impairments.
Impairments to the respiratory system are defined as those that result in a decrease in lung capacity, an inadequate exchange of gases inside the lungs (incoming oxygen and exiting carbon dioxide), or both. Respiratory impairments present with a variety of symptoms, including coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and irregular breathing. Due to the fact that these symptoms are also associated with other types of impairments, a complete medical history, a record of all examinations, and pulmonary imaging are required to confirm the presence of a chronic respiratory condition.
To get a disability judgment based on a diagnosis of Pneumoconiosis, the SSA requires that the preceding two requirements be established using specialized testing. To assess for decreased lung capacity, the first possible qualifying condition for lung disease, measures of the FEV (forced expiratory volume) and FVC (forced vital capacity) are taken using a spirometer. Additionally, the sufficiency of gas exchanges inside the lungs is determined by the use of diffusing capacity, or DLCO. The tables in the Lung Disease section of the Listing of Impairments indicate the minimum level of disability required for that impairment.
Along with testing at the required levels for these tests, the SSA mandates the use of accurate imaging, such as x-rays and CT scans, to confirm the presence of Pneumoconiosis-associated lung damage. Some physicians believe that X-rays are unreliable in detecting Pneumoconiosis, as the illness might mimic malignancies. CT scans provide a more precise diagnosis of Pneumoconiosis.
Your Disability Case Due to Pneumoconiosis
If your profession as a coal miner or other industrial worker exposed you to dangerous dust for an extended period of time and resulted in a diagnosis of Pneumoconiosis, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
Although early-stage Pneumoconiosis may not be completely incapacitating, more severe forms may render you unable to perform any type of employment. Establishing substantial proof in the form of doctor examinations, tests, x-rays, and CT scans is critical to your case, as is your job history in an area known to expose you to dangerous dust inhalation. To maximize your chances of receiving disability payments, it may be prudent to seek the assistance of a disability lawyer.