Is Asthma a Disability? Understanding Your Rights and Benefits

Yes, asthma can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act if it substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, including those with asthma.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways which can lead to recurrent episodes of coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath known as asthma attacks. These can range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Although there is no cure for the condition, it can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes, medications, and avoiding exposure to triggers.

Those who suffer from asthma often experience difficulty performing activities that involve physical exertion or breathing such as running, swimming, or climbing stairs due to their inability to draw sufficient oxygen into the lungs during exercise. People with severe cases may even experience obstruction of their airways when at rest. Common triggers of asthma attacks include allergens like pollen and pet dander, which can stimulate an immune response and lead to excess mucus production and narrowing of the airways. Additionally, exposure to pollutants and chemicals found in some foods (e.g. MSG) can also contribute to the development of asthma symptoms.

The debate over whether or not asthma should be considered a disability has been ongoing for many years. Some argue that because asthma can be managed with medications and lifestyle modifications, it should not be viewed in the same way as other disabilities that require more extensive accommodations. On the other hand, those with severe asthma point out that daily activities such as grocery shopping or walking the dog are often impaired by their condition, leading to social isolation or financial difficulties when needing special services or devices (e.g., nebulizers). Ultimately, cases must be evaluated individually in order to determine eligibility for disability benefits.

Now that we have discussed what asthma is, let’s move on to identifying common asthma symptoms in our next section…

Identifying Common Asthma Symptoms

When it comes to identifying common asthma symptoms, it is important to understand that every person is different and will present with unique experiences. Generally, however, some of the most common asthma symptoms include: wheezing or whistling sounds while breathing; shortness of breath; a tight feeling in the chest; and coughing, often during the night or early morning. If any of these symptoms are experienced on a regular basis, a health professional should be consulted for diagnosis and further assessment.

Those with severe or severe-persistent asthma can experience shortness of breath even when engaging in mundane activities such as brushing teeth and walking. And since this type of asthma is usually more resistant to treatment, it’s important that a patient undergoes careful monitoring by a doctor and takes medications as prescribed. Furthermore, allergies can exacerbate asthma symptoms, making it more difficult to control the condition. Therefore, it’s crucial to identify allergens triggering asthma episodes and take measures to avoid them.

While these hallmarks can be used to identify common asthma symptoms in those who suffer from the condition, caution must be taken not to assume that any individual symptom means an individual necessarily has asthma. In some cases, certain types of colds can also lead to similar symptoms, creating a false positive for asthma cases. Properly diagnosing asthmatic individuals involves more than just observing common signs like wheezing noises; medical professionals must take into account medical history, family history of allergic diseases and any objective tests they run.

Identifying common asthma symptoms is the first step towards understanding whether or not an individual suffers from this condition. Yet ultimately it’s up to qualified doctors to make a proper assessment when diagnosing a patient with asthma. As such, those experiencing persistent or severe respiratory difficulties should see their healthcare provider as soon as possible for appropriate evaluation and treatment.

Now that we have identified common signs of asthma and discussed how qualified medical professionals can help diagnose the condition accurately, let us move onto the next topic of discussion: Is Asthma Considered a Disability?

Is Asthma Considered a Disability?

When it comes to asthma, the answer to whether or not it is considered a disability is complicated. On one hand, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 stipulates that asthma qualifies as a disability. According to this legislation, an individual with a condition or illness is considered disabled and should qualify for reasonable accommodations if they are able to demonstrate that their condition “substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment”.

However, other organizations have not been so straightforward in their assessment of asthma’s status as a disability. For example, the Social Security Administration has regarded asthma as disabling in some cases but also on a case-by-case basis. As such, there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut answer to the question of whether or not asthma automatically constitutes a disability.

Nevertheless, advocates for those with asthma point out that the condition can be extremely severe and may indeed impede individuals from pursuing their desired career paths, living in their desired environments, and otherwise enjoying life without significant difficulty. Many people with asthma experience symptoms like labored breathing or coughing fits which can be debilitating enough to significantly inhibit everyday activity. Thus, in many cases, it would appear that asthma should be acknowledged as a disability under disability law.

Ultimately, while organizations like the Social Security Administration may differ in terms of how they classify asthma as a disability, individuals suffering from the condition can still petition for legal protection and reasonable accommodations based on ADA guidelines and criteria. Understanding disability law and one’s rights under it is essential for anyone seeking recognition of their situation as an actual disability. With this in mind, we now turn our attention towards understanding disability law in more depth.

Understanding Disability Law

Under U.S. federal law, disabilities are defined as physical or mental impairments that severely impact one or more major life activities. Asthma is the most common chronic condition among kids, and can significantly reduce their ability to engage in normal daily activities, such as attending school, playing a sport, doing chores, or participating in extra-curricular activities. Thus, many people with asthma may qualify for disability benefits.

However, determining who is eligible for disability benefits and who isn’t can be complicated. Since specific laws vary from state to state and conditions must meet certain criteria to qualify, it’s often wise to seek expert advice from a lawyer before applying for any benefits. A lawyer that’s experienced in disability lawsuits can assist in researching the regulations that pertain to your case and advise you on strategies for maximizing the chances of claims being accepted by insurance companies or government agencies overseeing the payment of benefits.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that not all types of asthma are considered disabling conditions under the law. For example, asthma related to allergies or exposure to pollutants typically might not be enough to entitle someone to receive disability payments since these types of asthma would typically involve temporary symptoms rather than long-term impairment in a major life activity. On the other hand, severe asthma that involves regular use of an inhaler and frequent visits to doctors may qualify someone for disability benefits under U.S. law.

No matter which side you stand on when it comes evaluating the potential disability eligibility of those with Asthma – whether they should qualify or not- ultimately understanding how disability law works is essential when making decisions about filing for benefits. Knowing your rights can help ensure that you receive the assistance you need and are entitled to. In the next section, we will look at what steps needs to be taken when applying for Asthma Disability Benefits.

Applying for Asthma Disability Benefits

Asthma can be a debilitating condition, and those who suffer from it may qualify for disability benefits. The process of applying for asthma disability benefits can be complex so it is important to understand your rights and take advantage of every resource available.

The first step in filing for disability benefits for asthma is to contact your local Social Security office. Make sure you bring records of all past medical treatments, test results and the names of any medications that have been prescribed. Once your application is filed, it will be reviewed and an eligibility determination made within a few months.

Those who are applying for disability benefits due to asthma will need to provide proof that they have experienced profound difficulty managing their symptoms over a period of time. An applicant should be able to demonstrate that any medications being taken are not effective in controlling symptoms, or that side effects significantly impair quality of life. Documentation should also include notes from doctors which state why more traditional treatments cannot improve the patient’s condition.

Applicants often face an uphill battle when trying to prove eligibility for asthma disability benefits. Although medical evidence is needed, there are not always clear-cut answers as to whether or not asthma qualifies. Ultimately, the decision will depend on many factors including the severity of symptoms and how well the applicant has managed them using existing treatment plans. Therefore having as much documentation as possible outlining all aspects of the case can lead to faster resolution and increased chances of success when applying for asthma disability benefits.

Now that we have discussed applying for asthma disability benefits, let’s move on to understanding what medical documentation is needed in order for an individual’s application for asthma disability benefits to be approved.

What Medical Evidence is Needed?

When it comes to assessing whether a person has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), determining medical evidence is essential. The law states that disability is construed as a condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Some asthmatics may have the severe form of this condition and would thus be considered disabled according to the ADA, whereas others may not meet this standard.

When deciding how to assess asthma as a disability, medical documentation is paramount in making an informed decision. In general, medical records will include information about diagnosis and treatment of your condition, such as pulmonary function tests, medications prescribed and X-rays if relevant. Furthermore, your healthcare provider will likely include notes about the frequency and severity of asthma attacks and any effects on other related conditions like sleep apnea or GERD. It’s important to keep these records updated regularly to accurately reflect your current medical status.

Additionally, evidence from a doctor describing the limitations that result from the condition can provide further insight into the extent to which asthma interferes with life activities. This could mean anything from difficulty climbing stairs or participating in physical activities due to shortness of breath, to struggles functioning at work or school because of reduced concentration or frequent absences caused by attacks.

Although medical evidence holds great weight in demonstrating an individual’s eligibility for protection under the ADA, there are other factors that must be taken into account when considering whether asthma constitutes a disability. For example, current accommodations provided in response to your symptoms could play an important role in demonstrating that your impairment significantly restricts you from engaging in major life functions. Ultimately, compiling comprehensive medical documentation and understanding how it applies to your specific circumstances is key for determining if you are legally considered disabled due to asthma.

As demonstrated, medical evidence plays a crucial role when assessing whether an individual’s asthma can be classified as a disability under the ADA. We must therefore turn our attention now towards protective rights and coverages afforded by law should it be concluded that you do indeed meet this definition.

Protective Rights and Coverages

As with any other disability, those with asthma have certain protective rights and coverages. Foremost among these is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), first signed in 1990. The ADA states that people with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in the workplace, educational institutions, transportation, or in any of its services, programs, or activities. For example, an employer may be required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that a disabled individual can perform their job duties.

However, if an employee’s asthma means they cannot perform their job requirements sufficiently, then the employer is under no obligation to make accommodations for them. That being said, the ADA does require employers to provide equal access for disabled individuals so long as it does not pose undue hardship for the employer.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) also provides protections for those with asthma and other disabilities by allowing qualifying individuals to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to deal with medical issues without fear of losing their job. Furthermore, the Social Security Administration provides monthly disability income benefits via Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) depending on the individual’s financial need and work history. Additionally, those entitled to benefits can also receive Medicare coverage after 24 months of receiving SSDI benefits.

While these protective rights and coverages are important safeguards for those with asthma, there are still many barriers faced by some individuals who may not qualify for necessary coverage due to various restrictions and regulations. Nevertheless, these federal laws offer peace of mind to people living with asthma and other disabilities who may face unfair public or private discrimination due to their condition.

As such protections are critical for managing asthma in both the workplace and daily life, it is important for people to understand their entitlements when it comes to being financially secure as welll as being respected in society. Following this section on protective rights and coverages we will now look at how qualifying for a Disability Tax Credit can help achieve financial security as well as greater independence from government assistance.

  • In 2018, it was estimated that 25.7 million adults and 6.2 million children in the United States had reported been diagnosed with asthma.
  • According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the leading cause of school absences among American children due to chronic illness.
  • A study published in 2018 found that 1.9% of US adults aged 18–44 years, 4.5% of US adults aged 45–64 years, and 6.6% of US adults aged 65 years and older reported vision impairment or blindness due to asthma-related disabilities.

Qualifying for a Disability Tax Credit

People with asthma may be entitled to additional tax benefits through the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Disability Tax Credit (DTC). To qualify, individuals must meet all of the criteria established by the CRA and provide supporting medical documentation.

The CRA has established three fundamental criteria that an individual must meet in order to qualify for a DTC: they must have a severe, ongoing physical or mental impairment; they must require more than 14 hours per week oflife-sustaining therapy; and their impairment must have lasted, or will last continue to last, for at least 12 months. Additionally, individuals must provide their physician with detailed information about the severity and frequency of their asthma symptoms in order to be considered for approval for the DTC.

The issue of whether asthma alone is a disability can be contentious, as it falls in a grey area between having an identifiable diagnosis, such as autism or bipolar disorder, and being affected by another disease or condition during which time asthma is diagnosed alongside said condition and accepted as part of it. The CRA does recognize that illnesses can overlap and states on its website that “Your disability does not necessarily need to be identified as an illness recognized under the Act.” This means you may qualify even if your disability is not specified in any list issued by the government. Ultimately, qualifying individuals are entitled to receive benefits regardless of how they obtained the designation of disabled.

The DTC can provide a number of potential tax benefits including receiving tax refunds, claiming medical expenses on one’s tax return, as well as obtaining credits which reduce one’s income taxes owing. While some uncertainty may exist surrounding eligibility criteria, people with asthma should contact their local CRA office to determine if they are eligible for this assistance.

Leading into the next section of the article: Resources for people with Asthma are available through both government agencies and national organizations. It is important to understand your rights and entitlements when living with an invisible disability like asthma which is why we dive deeper into understanding these resources next.

Resources for People with Asthma

People with asthma may feel overwhelmed when attempting to navigate the resources available to them. It is important to determine what works best and fits the individual needs of the person living with asthma.

There are a variety of helpful resources, such as websites that provide education on symptoms and treatments options and support groups to connect with others who understand the challenges associated with asthma. Health care providers can also be an important source of information and support. Other resources include programs and organizations dedicated to helping those affected by asthma, such as the American Lung Association, which provides asthma-specific education, resources, advocacy campaigns, patient support services, and research information.

Though some people feel that they have adequate resources available to them from their healthcare provider, it is often helpful to research other options in order to get the most comprehensive coverage for their needs. Supporters of this argument point out that additional sources of information can bring forth creative solutions for different individuals who may face specific challenges related to their condition. On the other hand, opponents point out that researching and utilizing multiple sources can be expensive, time consuming and confusing for someone dealing with a chronic condition.

No matter which route a person chooses, having access to resources can provide peace of mind in knowing that proper help is within reach when it is needed. With this in mind, it is essential for people living with asthma to have access to quality care both in terms of medical treatment as well as community or psychosocial supports.

With all these facts brought together, it is time now turn the focus towards coming to a conclusion; the next section will discuss “Conclusion”.


The answer to the question, “Is asthma a disability?” is both yes and no. In some cases, asthma can be classified as a disability due to its potential to severely limit or restrict an individual’s ability to participate in daily activities. However, the extent of a person’s symptoms, duration of those symptoms, and their overall response to treatment typically determines whether asthma can be categorized as a disability by organizations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When it comes to obtaining benefits and rights for those with asthma, organizations like the ADA are equipped to determine whether someone qualifies for certain privileges or not. Those who have been determined to have asthma as a disability may benefit from being able to receive accommodations at school or work that can help improve their well-being and performance, access services from healthcare professionals, and make use of inclusive resources or services from the government.

Ultimately, understanding your own rights and benefits when it comes to living with asthma can ensure that you have access to much-needed care and resources. It is important for individuals with asthma – and all chronic health conditions – to stay informed about what rights they possess so they know how best to pursue them.

Frequently Asked Questions and Responses

Are there any legal protections for people with asthma disabilities?

Yes, there are legal protections for people with asthma disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment, education, housing, and public services like transportation. In addition, many states have their own laws protecting the rights of disabled individuals and providing additional benefits beyond what is offered by the federal ADA. For people with asthma disabilities, these protections may include tax breaks, financial aid for school and job training, access to medical care, and even protection from harassment or discrimination in the workplace. It is important for people with asthma to know their rights and make sure they are being honored to ensure that they are not denied opportunities or treated unfairly because of their condition.

What criteria determines if asthma is classified as a disability?

The criteria that determines if asthma is classified as a disability will vary depending on the jurisdiction and type of benefits being sought. Generally speaking, in order to be considered disabled, one must have an impairment which causes substantial limitations in activities of daily living or employment. In order for asthma to be considered a disability, the symptoms must significantly reduce a person’s ability to perform specific tasks and interfere with their daily functioning. For example, severe asthma can make it difficult to breathe, walk quickly or normally function in everyday life. Additionally, the condition must be expected to last for a long period of time. Ultimately, it is likely that medical professionals will need to evaluate the individual’s particular situation before making a determination regarding the presence of a disability resulting from asthma.

How do employers handle accommodations for employees with asthma?

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to those with asthma in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means that employers must consider individual needs and make adjustments accordingly to ensure full access to their services and employment opportunities. The nature of the accommodations vary from case to case, but typically involve reducing exposure to triggers, providing adequate ventilation, and/or allowing for flexible scheduling or remote work options. When providing these accommodations, employers should also offer resources and support for employees so that they are able to manage their condition and continue work as normal. Additionally, employers must not discriminate against anyone with asthma based on their condition and should treat any health-related issues as a confidential matter.

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