Recently, I represented a 10-year-old girl diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, cystic fibrosis is a “life-threatening disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system…it affects the cells that produce the mucus, sweat, and digestive juices.”1 My client battled with breathing, producing phlegm, maintaining her weight, and staying healthy among other symptoms. In addition, she requires numerous daily breathing treatments that take her out of the classroom and away from her studies. Her condition and symptoms could result in her being found disabled.
In my client’s claim, and in all claims, Social Security will look at the medical evidence to determine the impairments and the severity of the impairments. There are three arguments that could be made for my client: one, she meet’s listing 103.04 (Cystic Fibrosis Listing), which is that she meets the very specific criteria to be approved; two, that is she is markedly impaired under at least two of six domains; or three, she is extremely impaired in one domain.
Since my client’s medical evidence did not support the required evidence of a listing, we argued that she marked in two domains. Specifically, we argued she was marked in domains two: attending and completing tasks and six: health and physical well-being. In domain two, the child is out of the classroom three times a day receiving breathing treatments. In addition, whenever she has an breathing attack and required further treatment she again is outside the classroom; this occurs at least one or two more times a week. The client is unable to participate in any physical activities and is not learning in those settings. She is continually falling behind in her school work due to nurse visits, not being able to participate, and absences. In domain six, this child had numerous visits to the school nurse, she has been to the emergency room countless times, had pneumonia in the last six months and in the period of her filing date had three hospitalizations. The doctors were concerned with her ability to thrive and grow. The medical records did strongly reflect this child’s struggle with her health.
Due to the severity cystic fibrosis has on a child’s life, seeking disability is warranted.