Earlier this year, the Social Security Administration announced that it was adding 52 new disabling medical conditions to its “Compassionate Allowances” program — an SSA initiative that reduces the disability claims decision making process for people with any of the 165 medical conditions now included on that list to a matter of days instead of several months.
One of the new conditions added is constrictive bronchiolitis (also known as obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterans) — a rare type of lung disease seen in some U.S. military veterans who were exposed to burning pits or fires while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Its inclusion in the CA program is good news in the sense that Oregon veterans afflicted with the disease should now be able to obtain Social Security Disability benefits much sooner than previously.
To provide just a bit of medical background information, constrictive bronchiolitis is an irreversible disease in which the bronchioles, the lung’s smallest airways, become progressively narrower or even completely obstructed due to scarring or fibrous tissue.
The disease has been diagnosed among dozens of veterans exposed to smoke from a 2003 sulfur mine fire in Mosul, Iraq, and among those exposed to smoke from burn pits used to incinerate various types of waste, including batteries, plastics and petroleum products, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
For veterans or civilian residents of Oregon who can’t work because of a disabling medical condition that is not included in the CA program, do not be discouraged and do not delay filing your application for Social Security Disability benefits. Because applying for disability benefits can be complicated and fraught with pitfalls, however, we would urge you to work with an experienced disability lawyer throughout the process.
Source: Army Times, “Lung disease put on list for faster benefits,” Patricia Kime, Aug. 11, 2012