Disability Benefits for Asthma

About Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways swell and narrow as well as produce extra mucus. The airways are tubes that transfer air in and out of a person’s lungs. Asthma causes the lungs to become inflamed resulting in swelling, sensitivity and excess mucus. This leads to the typical symptoms of asthma such as coughing and wheezing. The inflamed airways usually react to common airborne substances that are accidentally inhaled such as dust, pollen, or smoke. When the airways react to an inhaled substance, the muscles surrounding the airways tighten evoking the airways to narrow even further.

Over 25 million people have asthma in the United States and approximately 6.3 million of these individuals are under the age of 18. Several individuals diagnosed with asthma experience minimal symptoms and the condition is more of inconvenience than a severe medical condition. However, many others experience intense symptoms at high severity that lead to hospitalizations and other complications. It can interfere with a person’s everyday life as well as disrupt one’s ability to engage in employment or education.

This currently is no cure to asthma. Although in many cases, the symptoms can be controlled and managed through treatment and medication.

Symptoms of Asthma

The symptoms of asthma can vary in severity from person to person and not everyone with asthma experiences the same symptoms.

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat irritation
  • Frequent respiratory infections

Symptoms also can come in waves in which the symptoms suddenly become much worse (also known as a flare-up or asthma attack). Specific substances may trigger flare-ups or asthma attacks. Common substances known to trigger asthma attacks include but are not limited to:

  • Dust
  • Animal fur
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Sprays such as hairspray, insecticide, and perfume
  • Certain medicine such as aspirin and nonselective beta-blockers
  • Sulfite within food or drinks
  • Physical activity

Qualifying for Disability with Asthma

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a handbook called the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (also known as the Blue Book) that lists the most common disabling conditions and the requirements needed to qualify those conditions. Section 3 relates to the respiratory system and lists several impairments that affect the lungs such as cystic fibrosis and chronic pulmonary insufficiency. Anyone 18 years or older with asthma is evaluated under listing 3.03 Asthma. Children with asthma are evaluated under a separate listing (this is covered in more detail in a section below).

3.03 Asthma

Applicant must satisfy one of the following:

A.) Chronic asthmatic bronchitis meeting the listing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 3.02A (listed below)

3.02A: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to any cause with FEV1 equal to or less than the values specified in table I corresponding to the individual’s height without shoes.

Height without shoes (centimeters) Height without shoes (inches) FEV1 Equal to or less than (L,BTPS)
154 or less 60 or less 1.05
155 – 160 61 – 63 1.15
161 – 165 64 – 65 1.25
166 – 170 66 – 67 1.35
171 – 175 68 – 69 1.45
176 – 180 70 – 71 1.55
181 or more 72 or more 1.65


B.) Asthma attacks despite applying prescribed treatment and requiring physician intervention at least once every 2 months or at least 6 times a year. Each hospitalization that lasts longer than 24 hours for control of asthma counts as two attacks, and an evaluation period of more than 12 consecutive months must be used to determine the frequency of attacks.

Qualifications for Children with Asthma

As stated before, around 6.3 million of the 25 million people with asthma are children. Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children and is the leading reason for missed school days throughout America. The Blue Book is split into two sections, one for children and the other for anyone 18 years or older. This is due to the fact that the Social Security Administration goes about evaluating children and adults differently. Adults are typically evaluated based on their ability to engage in employment while children are evaluated based on their ability to function in the 6 domains.

103.03 Asthma

A.) FEV1 equal to or less than the value specified in Table I of 103.02A

Height without shoes (centimeters) Height without shoes (inches) FEV1 Equal to or less than (L,BTPS)
119 or less 46 or less 0.65
120 – 129 47 – 50 0.75
130 – 139 51 – 54 0.95
140 – 149 55 – 58 1.15
150 – 159 59 – 62 1.35
160 – 164 63 – 64 1.45
165 or 169 65 or 66 1.55
170 or more 67 or more 1.65


B.) Same as the adult listing (described above)


C.) Persistent low-grade wheezing between acute attacks or absence of extended symptom-free periods requiring daytime and nighttime use of sympathomimetic bronchodilators with one of the following:

1.) Continuous prolonged expiration with radiographic or other appropriate imaging techniques evidence of pulmonary hyperinflation or peribronchial disease

2.) Short courses of corticosteroids that average more than 5 days per month for a minimum of 3 months during a 12-month period


D.) Growth impairment as described in listing 100.00


Fill out my online form.