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PULMONARY EMBOLISM & DISABILITY

WHAT IS A PULMONARY EMBOLISM?

A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blood clot in the lungs. This can occur when the blood vessels that supply blood to the lungs become blocked. First, the blood clot forms in the legs or the pelvic area. Next, the clot travels to your lungs.

When a blood clot forms or gets stuck inside a blood vessel, it can block the blood vessel and prevent blood from moving through the body. When a pulmonary embolism occurs it may be difficult to breathe, the lungs can become damaged. And, it can even lead to death.

A pulmonary embolism when left untreated can result in death. If you have a PE, you have a 30 % chance of dying. However, if your PE is treated quickly, the mortality rate drops to 8%. Unfortunately, having a pulmonary embolism can lead to other complications which can also result in death. Within 3 months of diagnosis, approximately 23% of people with PE die. Similarly, there is a 37% death rate at 1 year after being diagnosed with a pulmonary elbolism.

Additionally, about 2% to 4% of patients with PE will have ongoing damage to the lungs. This condition is called pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension symptoms include shortness of breath and difficulty when exercising. If untreated, pulmonary hypertension can lead to heart failure.

 Pulmonary Embolism on blue background with large

SIGN AND SYMPTOMS OF A PULMONARY EMBOLISM 

How do you know if you are having a pulmonary embolism? This is a hard question to answer. Because, the symptoms vary for each person. Knowing that the a pulmonary embolism is the cause of your symptoms may not be possible. You may only know it is PE if you have experienced it before.

The symptoms of a PE are dramatic enough that they should send you to the hospital.

Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Changes in the color of one or both legs. Usually, the limb turns a shade of blue or purple.
  • Chest pain on inhalation
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling and pain in the arm or leg
  • Throbbing or cramping pain

If you experience the following symptoms, then something is physically wrong. You need to be seen by a doctor immediately. You should be on the alert for a pulmonary embolism if you have any of the causes outlined below.

CAUSES OF A PULMONARY EMBOLISM

While it is not always possible to know the cause of a pulmonary embolism, there are certain hereditary factors that should put you on the alert for the symptoms of a PE. For example, the following genetic issues can raise your risk of having a pulmonary embolism:

  • Hereditary factors
    • Antithrombin III deficiency
    • Factor V Leiden (most common genetic risk factor for thrombophilia)
    • Protein C deficiency
    • Protein S deficiency
    • Plasminogen abnormality
    • Plasminogen activator abnormality
    • Fibrinogen abnormality
    • Resistance to activated protein C
  • AIDS (lupus anticoagulant)
  • Behçet disease (a rare disorder disorder that causes blood vessel inflammation)
  • Cancer (malignancy), especially:
    • Pancreatic carcinoma
    • Bronchogenic carcinoma
    • Carcinomas of the genitourinary tract, colon, stomach, and breast cancer
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Estrogen replacement
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
  • Immobilization as in lengthy periods of bed rest
  • Loss of vein function (venous stasis)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Polycythemia (increased red blood cell production)
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgery
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Ulcerative colitis

PREVENTING A PULMONARY EMBOLISM

You cannot predict a pulmonary embolism. However, you can take steps to prevent clots in the deep veins of your legs. If you have a clot in the deep veins of your legs, it may break off and go to your lungs or heart. Avoiding deep vein thrombosis (DVT) will help you prevent pulmonary embolism.

There are many ways to prevent a pulmonary embolism. Most of these ways involve taking care of yourself by making sure there is good circulation in your legs. For example, you can use the following:

  • Blood thinners. Blood thinners are given to people who might experience a clot both before and after surgery. Additionally, if you are admitted to the hospital with a heart attack or a stroke, you might be given a blood thinner.
  • Compression stockings. Compression stockings are longer than a sock. These stockings compress your legs. This helps your veins and leg muscles efficiently move the blood in your legs. Compression stockings are safe and inexpensive. Typically, you will be given a pair of compression stockings after a general surgery. This helps the blood flow in your legs while you are laying down.
  • Elevating your legs. Elevating your legs during the day and at night is also a good way to help the circulation in your legs. Put your legs up the wall or on the headboard of your bed.
  • Pneumatic compression. This is a form of treatment that uses a machine attached to cuffs that go around your thighs or calves. The machine inflates the cuffs with air. Then it deflates every few minutes. When it inflates and deflates it massages the veins in your  legs and improves blood flow.
  • Walking. Walking as soon as you can after an operation can help prevent a pulmonary embolism.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY & SSI BENEFITS

Social Security Disability benefits are available to you if you cannot work due to your disability. Additionally, in order to qualify for SSD benefits you must have enough work credit. For example, if you are over the age of 30, then you must have worked at least 20 quarters within the ten year period just prior to the occurrence of your disability. The Social Security Administration often calls this rule the “20/40 rule.” Find out more about the definition of work and substantial gainful activity here. SSD benefits come with Medicare.

Please note that if you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSD benefits, then you can apply for SSI benefits. However, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits are different than Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. SSI benefits are a “supplement” to SSD benefits, paid to you if your monthly SSD benefit is a low amount of money.

It is also a benefit you can receive if you have never had a job or if you have only worked for a short period of time. In order to be eligible for SSI you must meet the disability and income and asset requirements. Typically, for example, you cannot have more than $2000 in the bank or you are ineligible. The financial asset rules that govern SSI are complex. Therefore, you may need the legal help of an SSI benefits attorney to see if you are eligible. SSI benefits also come with Medicaid. Find out more about Medicaid benefits here.

FILING A CONCURRENT CLAIM FOR BOTH SSD AND SSI BENEFITS

If you have worked full-time and earned a low wage, you could qualify for a combination of both SSI and SSD benefits.  The SSA calls this a “concurrent claim.” SSI benefits are a supplement to SSD benefits.

Together, the two benefits can bring you to a higher monthly benefit amount than one benefit alone. However, in order to win SSI, you must have a severe disability and be unable to work for 12 months or longer. Additionally, you must meet SSA’s income and asset requirements.

PULMONARY EMBOLISM & MEETING LISTING 7.08

In order to meet SSA’s listing for pulmonary embolism, the SSA focuses on the complications that occur after your pulmonary embolism. As an example, this blog will focus on thrombosis. Once you have a pulmonary embolism, you may also have blood clots in your legs or arms.

You can also have multiple lobes of your lungs filled with blood clots. If this occurs, you will need to undergo a series of surgeries in order to remove the blots. You may also have a pulmonary embolism and months later experience more issues with thrombosis.

SSD & SSI benefits are for those who cannot work for over 12 months. They are also for those who will never work again. If you have a pulmonary embolism, you may be able to return to work after a period of recovery. If that is the case, you will not be eligible for disability benefits. However, if you have further complications that prevent you from working, you will found disabled. Especially if you require multiple hospitalizations.

SSA’s listing for pulmonary embolism contemplates ongoing issues with thrombosis. For example, the listing requires complications that require hospitalization. You need to be in the hospital three times within a twelve month period. There must be 30 days in between each hospitalization. And each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours. Below, you will find SSA listing 7.08.

7.08 Disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis:

Including hemophilia and thrombocytopenia (see 7.00D), with complications requiring at least three hospitalizations within a 12 month period and occurring at least 30 days apart prior to adjudication. Each hospitalization must last at least 48 hours, which can include hours in the hospital emergency department or comprehensive hemophilia treatment center immediately before the hospitalization (see 7.00D2).

D. What are disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis, and how does SSA evaluate them under 7.08?

  1. Disorders of thrombosis and hemostasis include both clotting and bleeding disorders, and may be congenital or acquired. These disorders are characterized by abnormalities in blood clotting that result in hypercoagulation (excessive blood clotting) or hypocoagulation (inadequate blood clotting). The diagnosis of a thrombosis or hemostasis disorder is based on evaluation of plasma clotting-factor proteins (factors) and platelets. Protein C or protein S deficiency and Factor V Leiden are examples of hypercoagulation disorders. Hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, and thrombocytopenia are examples of hypocoagulation disorders. Acquired excessive blood clotting may result from blood protein defects and acquired inadequate blood clotting (for example, acquired hemophilia A) may be associated with inhibitor autoantibodies.
  2. The hospitalizations in 7.08 do not all have to be for the same complication of a disorder of thrombosis and hemostasis. They may be for three different complications of the disorder. Examples of complications that may result in hospitalization include anemias, thromboses, embolisms, and uncontrolled bleeding requiring multiple factor concentrate infusions or platelet transfusions. The SSA will also consider any surgery that you have, even if it is not related to your hematological disorder, to be a complication of your disorder of thrombosis and hemostasis if you require treatment with clotting-factor proteins (for example, factor VIII or factor IX) or anticoagulant medication to control bleeding or coagulation in connection with your surgery. We will count the hours you receive emergency treatment in a comprehensive hemophilia treatment center immediately before the hospitalization if this treatment is comparable to the treatment provided in a hospital emergency department.

EXAMPLES OF COMPLICATIONS REQUIRING HOSPITALIZATION

If you have thrombosis in your legs, a doctor will probably need to remove the blood clots surgically. This operation is known as a thrombectomy. A thrombectomy requires the surgeon to cut open your leg and remove the blood clots from inside your artery or vein. Most patients spend three to four days recovering in the hospital before going home to recover. Recovery can last up to 12 weeks.

If a blood clot in your leg has stopped blood flow to the foot long enough, you may have further complications, such as nerve damage. If you have nerve damage, then you may not be able to feel your foot. Also, you may experience leg ulcers or gangrene in your foot. If you get gangrene, it is possible that you will need amputation of your toes or a part of your foot. If these types of complications occur, it is important for your attorney to obtain the medical records. That way, your attorney can document each of your hospital stays and determine if you meet listing 7.08.

Each year in the United States, approximately 3 in every 1,000 adults develop a DVT or pulmonary embolism. Approximately 300,000 people die each year as a result of DVT/PE. It is the third most common vascular disease, after heart attacks and strokes.

IF YOU DON’T MEET LISTING 7.08, YOU CAN STILL WIN DISABILITY BENEFITS 

If you don’t meet listing 7.08, you can still be found disabled if you can’t work due to your severe symptoms. The SSA looks to the disabling symptoms that occur after a pulmonary embolism. Once they determine the impact of those disabling symptoms, they will know your residual functional capacity (RFC).

The SSA determines your RFC by reviewing your medical records and asking you questions about your abilities. For example, the SSA will look at how your symptoms impact your ability to do everyday tasks, such as sit, stand, and walk. They will also look at your fatigue and determine if you need to lay down during the workday.

If you RFC is limited, then it can prevent you from working. For example, if you have leg surgery following a pulmonary embolism it may impair your ability to walk. Likewise, you may not be able to sit for 8 hours a day in an office chair. Or, it may require you to lay down during the day with your legs elevated. If so, this could prevent you from working.

Additionally, the SSA will decide whether or not the impact of your pulmonary embolism is impacting your mental abilities. For example, does your pain impair your ability to concentrate. Or, if you have had a stroke, are you struggling to communicate? The SSA develops a RFC assessment to determine if you can work. Find out more about the Residual Functional Capacity assessment here.

WHAT DOES CANNON DISABILITY DO TO HELP YOU WITH YOUR PULMONARY EMBOLISM CASE?

You do not have to obtain disability benefits for pulmonary embolism on your own. Cannon Disability Law can help file your disability application. Also, we can help you navigate the stages of appeal during the disability process. That way, you can focus on your health. Our attorneys and specialists can:

  • Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
  • Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
  • Request reconsideration if you receive an initial denial from Disability Determination Services
  • Help you confirm your attendance at a Consultative Examination
  • Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
  • Prepare you to be a good witness at your disability hearing
  • Represent you at your hearing and cross-examine vocational and medical witnesses. Read more about vocational experts here. Learn more about medical expert testimony here.
  • Request review of an unfavorable decision with the Appeals Council
  • Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court

If you file your application for disability benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you only have 6 months to complete the application. You submit your application online. After that, the SSA sends you a summary of your application in the mail. In order for your application to be complete, you must sign the summary and mail it back to them. Additionally, once you receive a denial from the SSA, you have 60 days to file an appeal of SSA’s unfavorable decision. You must not fail to meet the deadlines set by the SSA.

HIRE US FOR OUR YEARS OF EXPERIENCE

In the past 30 years, we have won millions of dollars in ongoing and past-due due disability benefits for our clients with peripheral neuropathy. If you want to win too, then you need to hire an attorney with the experience to win your case. Also, you need an advocate to help you through the disability process. Contact us today. We can help you win benefits for your pulmonary embolism.

If you want to learn more about Cannon Disability’s representative, then you can go to our About Us page. For example, Andria Summers can help you with your Medicare plan. She has also won thousands of disability cases. Dianna Cannon has been representing disability claimants for thirty years. Brett Bunkall also has significant experience helping people obtain their SSI and SSD benefits. We are experts. You can trust us to help you receive disability benefits.

In the past 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI cases for our clients. Also, we help our clients optimize their Medicare benefits. Our specialists can help you apply for disability benefits using the SSA’s website.

Likewise, if you need an appeal, we can help you do that too. There are also many forms you will need to fill out. But, don’t worry. If you have questions about these forms, we will answer them. You can learn more about SSA’s appeal forms here. Call us for free today.

CANNON DISABILITY LAW WORKS ON A CONTINGENCY FEE BASIS

If you have a pulmonary embolism case and cannot work, you should hire an attorney. An attorney can help you win your disability benefits. In order to hire Cannon Disability, all you need to do is contact us. We offer a free consultation over the phone. Furthermore, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.

It also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.

The attorney fee has a cap or a limit. The SSA sets the limit of the attorney fee at 25% of the back benefit or the maximum attorney fee cap. Whatever is less.

If there are costs in your case, then you pay those. But typically those costs are less than $100. Once we win your case, the attorney fee comes from your back benefit. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay upfront. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So, the only way to pay us, is for us to win your case. That is our goal. Call and see what we can do for you.

WE WORK FOR YOU NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE

Additionally, we represent clients in many states. These states include Nevada, Utah, and Idaho. Learn more about applying for disability benefits in Idaho. We also have clients in Colorado and California. Find out more about Nevada disability benefits here. Learn more about Utah disability benefits here. For Colorado disability benefits information read here.

Information about California disability benefits is here. No matter where you live, we will answer your questions. Hire our team to help you win disability benefits for pulmonary embolism. We want to be your disability legal team. Call us now if you cannot work due to a pulmonary embolism.

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