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Skilled Worker With Circulation and Respiratory Problems Considers Disability

Hi.  Last year I had a stint and have been on medication since.  My employer is eliminating my position (a technical, computer related job) in order to force me to retire.  I have circulation issues in my legs and breathing issues and bruise extensively .  Do I have any chance of qualifying for disability?

Jonathan Ginsberg responds:  Here is how I would analyze your situation.  Based on what you have written, I would develop two different theories of disabiltiy. Theory one would ask whether you meet a listing.  If you look at the adult listings, Listing 4.00 (Cardiovascular System) and Listing 3.00 (Respiratory System) would seem to hold the most promise.  If you look at Listing 4.00, there are sublistings for Chronic Venous Insufficiency (4.11) and Peripheral Arterial Disease (4.12).  I would discuss with your cardiologist whether or not your condition rises to listing level.

Similarly, you could look at the sublistings for respiratory problems.  My concern here is that the respiratory listings look to specific breathing tests and the resulting measurements.  My experience has been that breathing issues need to be pretty severe to meet a respiratory listing.

Theory two would be to argue that your functional capacity for work has been so reduced by your multiple medical problems that you would not be able to sustain competitive work as a result of these problems.  Generally, when arguing for disability based on functional capacity, you implicitly acknowledge that your condition does not rise to listing level severity, but you contend that the overall impact of your conditions, side effects of medications, associated fatigue and depression – all taken as a whole – leave you unable to work.

In order to win a functional capacity argument, you will need help from a treating physician who would be willing to go on record (by completing a functional capacity form) about the specific limitations arising from your condtion.

Without knowing anything about the severity of your condition or what the medical records say, I would not be in a position to evaluate your case, but assuming that you have medical support and that your job reliability and attendance would be a problem, I think you would have a reasonable agrument for disability.

One final thought – the Americans With Disabilities Act (the ADA) requires larger employers to make "reasonable accomodations" for individuals with disabilities.  Here, you imply that your employer is not willing to take these steps.    Therefore, it might be worth a call to an employment attorney to evaluate the viability of an ADA claim.

2 thoughts on “Skilled Worker With Circulation and Respiratory Problems Considers Disability”

  1. Hi

    I am an Occupational therapist specialising in accessible housing and have just set up a new website for my company Inclusion. I have a news section on there and would welcome any feedback regarding information and news that people might find useful to see included….there is also a free Disability discrimination act resources page which some people might find useful – especially for small business’.

    The site is

    Any feedback or opinions on content, etc would be warmly welcomed and listened to……



  2. Well, I have ben on disability ince 2004.When I first got on it, I had severe electrical pain in my risiduak limb after a left below knee amoutation. I had about 30 surgeries from the time I was about 20 until 1995 when they finally decided to cut it off. I have had severl surgeries eveb after the leg was removed. Iam now with a pain clinc who diagnosed me with Chrinic Pain Syndrome, and I have been on Methadone 2 tablets every eight hours. I have already been on the stff for about 3 years or so now. Since I was disabled with my leg prblems I also had rotator cuff surgery, had 3 plates put into my neck, and also about two inches taken off of my tailbone. That was a failure because I now can only sit for about 30 minutes and I have to get up. I have Ashthma, and COPD AS WELL, AND iAM ON OXYGEN 24/7 ALL THE TIME. When I first became disabled, on my award letter it stated that although it had been decided that I would not be expected to improve medically, they would still have to do a review from 5 to 7 years from when I became disabled. The 5 year mark will be up in april of next year. Or they could wait until 7 years as well like they said. I am not 56 years old and will be 57 in october of this year. With all my ailments do you think there is any chance they wouild boot me off disability? I really don’t see how they could. Its all I can do to shower and dress in the mornings and then Iam exausted. The doctor has even prescribed one of those power chairs for me. Should I worry about getting taken back off, and also does my age of 57 going to have any bearing on what they will do? Thank you so much for your time.

    Don Clontz

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