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Pneumonia and SSA Disability Benefits

Pneumonia, an inflammation of the lungs, can be caused by a virus, fungi, parasite or bacteria. It most often occurs in the elderly, but anyone can get this condition if their immune system deteriorates, allowing germs to overcome the natural defenses of the body.

Pneumonia occurs when germs invade the lungs, and as the body attempts to fight the foreign bodies, the normal response is an increase of white blood cells which accumulate in the alveoli of the lungs.

Common Symptoms of Pneumonia

  1. Labored breathing

  2. Thick and yellow or green sputum

  3. Cough

  4. Fever

  5. Low body temperature

  6. Sweating

  7. Chest pain

  8. Headache

  9. Muscle pain

Healthy individuals generally can recover from pneumonia within a few days or weeks, but the elderly or those with a compromised immune system, pneumonia can be a life-threatening condition. Additionally, in recent years some strains of pneumonia have become resistant to antibiotic treatment and may be more serious.

How long will Pneumonia last?

If you have pneumonia you may recover within a few days, weeks or months. There is no specific timeframe because pneumonia can be caused by a virus or bacteria. Pneumonia is most often caused by bacteria; in fact, there are 80 different types of bacteria which can cause pneumonia.

Some claimants may also have “walking pneumonia” which is less severe and allows the individual to move around and perform their normal daily activities.

Pneumonia and SSDI or SSI Disability Benefits

To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) a claimant must have a mental or physical health condition which does not allow them to perform substantial gainful activity. A claimant’s condition must also be expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.

Why doesn’t the Social Security Administration offer short-term benefits?

The Social Security Administration does not offer short-term or partial disability benefits. The assumption by the SSA is that the claimant would have other means of financial support if they are only going to miss work for a few weeks or a few months. Unfortunately, with many businesses eliminating short-term disability benefits and workers failing to save their income for emergencies, this can leave many workers in a financial bind if they miss work even for a few days. Other workers, who are performing part-time jobs, may not have any type of disability benefits or medical care through their employer.

What do you do if you are facing a short-term illness? Ideally, you would have an emergency fund which you could tap to pay for short-term medical expenses and lost wages. Some workers use their credit cards, take out a loan, or ask their friends or family members for temporary help. Unfortunately, this is a tough situation with no good solutions.

What will happen to my application if I apply for SSDI or SSI benefits?

If you submit an application for SSI or SSDI for pneumonia the SSA will automatically determine your condition does not meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI or SSI and you will be immediately denied. The SSA will not pull your medical records, and they will not evaluate the severity of your health condition.

Consider, however, if you have pneumonia in addition to other severe health conditions you may be considered disabled based on other conditions.
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