Social Security Administration Updates Eligibility Requirements for Disability

The CF Foundation applauds the Social Security Administration's updated eligibility requirements for disability benefits for people with respiratory diseases, including people with CF.

Sept. 14, 2016 | 3 min read

Today, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published updated eligibility requirements for disability benefits for people with respiratory diseases, including people with cystic fibrosis.

The eligibility criteria were expanded and updated to better reflect the needs of people with CF. The requirements took into consideration updated FEV1 criteria, a wider range of CF complications and expanded eligibility for those who receive lung transplants. Additionally, the eligibility rules allow for treatments for exacerbations wherever deemed most appropriate.

The new requirements will take effect on October 7, 2016.

The CF Foundation recognizes the new requirements as a significant step forward in ensuring that people with CF who cannot work will receive the disability benefits that they need.

Today's news represents an enormous win for people with CF and their families and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the CF community.

In 2013, the Foundation spearheaded an effort to ensure that the proposed SSA eligibility requirements did not unfairly block people with CF from qualifying for disability benefits. In addition to submitting comments to the SSA during the editing process, the Foundation also mobilized its care center network and sent a letter signed by 128 care center directors to the SSA on this issue.

At the time, the Congressional CF Caucus co-chairs Representatives Edward Markey (D-MA) and Tom Marino (R-PA), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and 37 other key members of Congress also sent letters to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and expressed their concern about the proposed changes that could have made it more difficult for people with CF to receive disability benefits.

Thanks to all of these efforts, the SSA eligibility criteria announced today are more appropriate for the needs of the CF community. We are grateful to the Social Security Administration for their willingness to listen to our concerns and integrate them into the final criteria.

For assistance with social security benefits, people with CF and their families can contact Compass, the Foundation's patient assistance program, at (844) 266-7277 or by email at

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