Do You Have A Case?

While often associated with younger children, asthma can have a serious effect on adults as well. Whether you have lived with it your whole life, or are dealing with adult-onset asthma, it could limit your ability to work.

Is Asthma Considered a Disability?

Asthma can be considered a disability, but most cases do not qualify as such. Generally, it depends on the severity and frequency of your asthma symptoms. Because it is is a chronic condition, it may affect your ability to perform at work. Usually, this condition is classified as a chronic inflammation of your bronchial tubes, which limits your ability to breathe. These asthma attacks can be caused by physical activity, but can also be brought on by particulates in the air, such as allergens, or by stressors. Odors and irritants can also cause asthmatic episodes. Particulates may include pollen, dust, animal dander, and more.

While most individuals experience mild cases of asthma, where episodes can usually be remedied with an inhaler and some rest, some experience much more severe cases. For these individuals, treatment may require tools beyond a rescue inhaler, including a nebulizer or a trip to the hospital.

Debilitating Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects your breathing and may require lifelong monitoring of symptoms. The symptoms can make it difficult and distressing to engage in everyday activities. During an asthmatic attack, it can become extremely difficult to breathe as the muscles tighten in your lungs, and they fill with mucus. Some disabling symptoms of asthma include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pains or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Additional Respiratory Complications

Living with asthma also puts you at a higher risk of developing other respiratory lung diseases and infections. These may include:

  • COPD
  • Dyspnea
  • Status Asthmaticus
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Pneumonia

These complications, and others, can possibly result in death, especially when left untreated.

Work Limitations From Asthma

Because asthma is mild for most individuals that experience it, your disability insurance company will likely need some convincing. They will require significant proof of how your asthma limits your ability to perform at work. Because of this, you will need to show how your asthma contributes to your inability to perform at work.

For example, physical exertion at work may cause you to experience asthma attacks. Severe asthma attacks may cause you to have unexpected or frequent sick days, which could cause you to fall behind at work. Coughing and wheezing symptoms may cause you to lose sleep, making it harder to focus at work. If you have stress-related asthma attacks, important meetings or deadlines could trigger asthma attacks. Irritants in the workplace, such as copier ink or cleaning products could also trigger episodes. Having to take breaks from work to recover from episodes may also lead to further productivity limitations.

Proving Your Asthma As a Disability

In order to file for Long-Term Disability for your asthma, you will require proof of your diagnosis, symptoms, and more. You will need to prove that you not only suffer from asthma but that it is a hindrance to your work.

Proof of Diagnosis

Showing proof of diagnosis starts with your doctor. A diagnosis will generally require a physical examination by your doctor, followed by further testing to confirm. You may also be referred to a pulmonologist for further respiratory treatment and evaluation.

Physical Examinations

Physical examinations can help rule out, or find additional conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or respiratory infections. Your doctor will ask questions regarding your medical history, family history, and any symptoms you experience. They will also look for additional signs and symptoms of other respiratory conditions.

Lung Function Measurements

Lung function testing helps pulmonologists determine your lung performance. Generally, these tests occur both before and after taking medication to open your airways. Commonly, this medication is Albuterol, the medication found in most asthmatic inhalers. a Lung Function Measurement test can be used to diagnose the condition or quantify its effect on your lung capacity.

Support from Your Doctor

Your insurance company will likely require a supportive opinion from your doctor regarding how your condition affects your daily life and your ability to work. Generally, your doctor’s report will focus on the severity and frequency of your symptoms. They may also discuss limitations or restrictions that could limit your capacity for work. This report will likely come in the form of an Attending Physician Statement or other supporting documentation.

Functional Capacity Evaluation

A Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a physical evaluation that tests how your body reacts to physical work, and what your limitations are. While most symptoms of asthma do not directly affect your physical capabilities, physical exertion may trigger asthmatic episodes. because of this, an FCE can be a good indicator of how your condition affects your ability to perform at work.

Woman With Asthma Using An Asthma Inhaler For Preventing Attacks

Types Of Asthma

There are different classifications of asthma, based on how frequently you experience asthmatic episodes. Classifying your condition can help the insurance company gain a better understanding of how frequently your condition affects you. Your doctors will be better able to give you a proper classification for your condition. There are 4 main classifications:

  • Severe Persistent – You likely experience frequent daily symptoms, and most nights.
  • Moderate Persistent – You likely have symptoms about once per day or more, and one or more times a week at night.
  • Mild Persistent – You experience symptoms 2 or more times a week, not generally within a single day.
  • Mild Intermittent: You likely experience symptoms up to 2 days a week and infrequently during the month.

Personally Documenting Your Symptoms

Keep a record of your symptoms, including dates, and times that you experience them. Be sure to include a note of what activities you were performing before these episodes, as well as the recovery time needed. Review these with your doctor. These records can prove helpful in your disability claim, especially if you are detailed and specific.

If you need to seek medical attention for your symptoms, be sure to include where you were treated, and by whom. Keep documents of doctor/hospital visits related to your asthma collected in the event that they might help your case.

Appropriate Treatment for Asthma

Generally, treatment for asthmatic symptoms includes curbing symptoms and reducing recovery time during asthmatic episodes. If you are not seeking appropriate treatment for your condition, your long-term disability insurance company may claim that you are not making an effort to manage your condition. They may use this to deny or revoke your claim. As such, you must seek and continue seeking appropriate treatment for your condition. This means taking medications as prescribed, using rescue inhalers as needed, etc. Some medications may help you curb the frequency or severity of your symptoms.

Talk with your doctor about the options available to you. They will be better equipped to discuss the side effects of different medications, and which ones may be right for your unique situation.

While there is no cure, it can often be suppressed or made milder with the right medications and treatment. Some people may experience “growing out” of their asthma condition, but this is more common in younger individuals, who “outgrow” it with age. However, it is not uncommon for symptoms to return as they get older.

While there is no cure for asthma, it can often be suppressed or made milder with the right medications and treatment. Some people may experience “growing out” of their asthma condition, but this is more common in younger individuals, who “outgrow” it with age. However, it is not uncommon for symptoms to return as they get older.

Developing Asthma Later in Life

Anyone could develop asthma later in their life, although it is most commonly associated with development in younger individuals. This section will focus on common factors for developing this condition, generally linked to adults.


Smoking is linked to a wide assortment of respiratory illnesses and conditions, including asthma. The damage that smoking causes to the lungs can severely affect your ability to breathe. Talk with your doctor about how to quit smoking.


Living in the NewYork/New Jersey, many of us are accustomed to the smog of the city, and the exhaust from crowded highways during rush hour. But, prolonged exposure to air pollutants can lead to developing respiratory conditions.

COVID-19 and Asthma

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) may lead to the development of additional respiratory issues, such as asthma. The long-term effects of this disease are still being studied, but many people suffering from “long COVID” show signs and symptoms of lingering respiratory problems. Further studies will still be needed before this can be ruled out.

Can an Attorney Help Me Get Long-Term Disability for Asthma?

If you are looking to file a long-term disability claim for your condition, you should seek out an experienced attorney. At D’Agostino & Associates, we help people living with disabling conditions such as asthma file long-term disability claims. We help you through the process step by step to help you build a strong case. Our law team is here for you.

At D’Agostino & Associates, our team of lawyers can help you sort through all the details, understand what you are entitled to, and fight to get what you deserve. D’Agostino & Associates P.C. has offices in New York and New Jersey. Contact us, or call us at 1-888-245-2924 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.