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    lot of work missed due to asthma
    wezman posted:
    I had asthma for about ten years now also got all the meds under the sun. Missed a lot of work due to this and colds that really make asthma flare up. Live in constant fear of loosing my job! Does any one else feal this way? Co workers dont seem to understand.
    amcate responded:
    Yes, this has happened to me for years and co workers don't understand...unless they've known someone with moderate or severe persistent asthma. In fact, for me, it's not just co workers but also family who don't understand as my sisters have mild intermittent asthma and can't relate and assume asthma is just one diagnosis that presents the same in everyone.

    I've lost jobs before due to asthma flares or asthma management. There is the ADA, but I decided it didn't make sense to pursue it at the time.

    I normally try to not mention the asthma at work and I work on call. However, when I need to, I do mention it or take meds out in the open if a bathroom isn't available, but I don't voluntarily talk about it. Working on call is one of the benefits of working in healthcare.

    Currently, I'm going through a possible side effect of the meds, though the MRI will tell for sure, and can't work. I don't lose my job as I work per diem (or on call), but there's no guarantee I'll have any hours available when and if I get better. In addition, it's very difficult to get social security disability in my state. So, I watch my money very carefully and save when I can.

    You could always look up the disability laws in your state to see if they'll help.

    It is the most difficult part of having asthma, in my opinion, and people who haven't had the experience don't get it.
    choo_chu replied to amcate's response:

    Social security disability is actually a Federal program, not a state program. Social security taxes are taken out of your wages to help fund the program. From what I understand, it's pretty hard to get disability due to asthma and your lung function has to be quite low. They like to quantify every illness, that's why I think it's so hard to get disability for things like back pain because it can't be easily quantified. There's no test, like a lung function test, for back pain. They have a website: which will tell you more about the program.
    amcate replied to choo_chu's response:
    My state has specific rules on how they determine certain disabilities. People in a group I go to who have applied for disability typically speak of the state laws regarding it. I have to do more research on it to be sure, but my impression was that the state's administer it and have some freedom in how exactly they define a disability.

    Yes, it is difficult to get for asthma. I've read my state's determination laws, and they go by spirometry. I just didn't know what else to say.

    To the original poster, the ADA is American with Disabilities Act in case you didn't know.
    amcate replied to choo_chu's response:
    I went to your reference, clicked "social security definition of disability" then clicked "disability benefits". It says on page 8 and 9 that once they receive the application on the federal level, they send it to the state agency where the individual lives, and the state agency decides if the individual meets the state agency's definition of disability.

    I realize it's a federal program, as you say, and I know social security is taken out of the paycheck.

    I only contacted a lawyer, who said it would be difficult for me to get it. I then looked up the specific definitions on the internet, and it looked like a state agency document. So, I'm not that familiar with the specifics of the process. I just know in one of my social groups a lot of the folks either are on disability or have applied, and they normally refer to how it's administered in our state and they imply it's easier to get in other states because our state agency is so worried about fraud.

    However, the specifics of how the federal level and the state agency's interact and who does what I don't know since it didn't make sense for me to apply.
    amcate replied to choo_chu's response:
    I realized my prior responses were poorly worded. What I was trying to say is that yes, social security is taken out of the paycheck, and yes, it is a federal program. However, in New Mexico, the state agency is the one who makes the final determination of whether to approve or deny benefits and sometimes it goes to an administrative law judge. After that, it goes to the Appeal Council, then to the US District Court. I know the federal laws guide determinations to a degree, what I don't know is how much leeway the state level has in implementing it and interpreting it. My impression from informal conversations with friends is that the state has a degree of leeway in how it interprets and implements the federal guidelines. For instance, the disability attorney I spoke with in my state gave me literature which says, "State agency decision-makers also tend to apply specific formulas found in state agency manuals to determine residual functional capacity (RFC) for certain medical impairments, thus treating all claimants with similar medical findings the same. Few of the state agency formulas in these manuals indicate that a claimant cannot do sedentary work. On the other hand, the administrative law judges (ALJs) who handle hearings tend to view their role as evaluating the entire case-including the claimant's credibility-to determine capacity for work. ALJs find claimants under age 50 disabled because of inability to do sedentary work much more often than state agency decision-makers do." That's what I'm unclear about and what I've been trying to learn over the last hour...there are for sure federal regulations on disability definitions and determinations, but do the individual states have some leeway on how they interpret and implement those federal guidelines? From talking to folks I know who've gone through the process, my impression is that the states have some leeway on that. However, I don't know for sure and I can't find a specific website the addresses that. I'm a particularly poor writer, so please bear with me .
    wezman replied to amcate's response:
    Thanks for the reply made a world of difference to me I don't feel so alone wish you well !!
    amcate replied to wezman's response:
    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. It's a difficult situation. My state has a vocational rehab department that knows all the applicable laws. The two I know are the American with Disabilities Act and disability information. In my state, the vocational rehab department does the first two decisions in case of disabilities, then it goes to the administrative law judge if the person continues to appeal the decision. In any case, in my state the vocational rehab department really knows the applicable employment laws and has information on retraining into a different career. Maybe your state has something similar.

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