October 7, 2019

Your Heart Condition and Social Security Disability

Your heart condition and Social Security disability.  Just the thought of suffering a severe heart condition can be alarming and cause anxiety.  After all, a severe heart condition can cause many disabling symptoms or even death.  If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a heart condition, it is probably in their best interest to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

There are many heart conditions a person can endure, and these can include, but are not limited to:

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Angina
  • Heart Failure
  • Arrhythmia
  • Valve Disease
  • High Blood Pressure

Many of these conditions have symptoms that are severe enough to prevent an individual from performing substantial gainful activity.  Examples of these symptoms are:

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Weakness and Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling in Extremities
  • Irregular Heartbeat

The Social Security Administration (SSA) acknowledges heart conditions in its Listing of Impairments under Listing 4.00 Cardiovascular System.  This publication by the SSA establishes guidelines to evaluate the severity of a heart condition to determine disability.  At times, these criteria can be difficult to meet or equal. If you do not meet these criteria, the SSA will look at how your symptoms cause you limitations in determining you Residual Functional Capacity (RFC).  For example, a claimant who experiences shortness of breath with prolonged exertion may be limited in standing or walking during a typical workday.  There can be various ways to prove that your heart condition is severe enough for you to be found disabled.

In order to be successful in a disability claim for heart conditions, objective cardiovascular testing or procedure notes are important to demonstrate to the SSA how severe your condition really is. Examples of helpful testing include:

  • Blood Tests
  • Tilt Tests
  • Angiograms
  • Chest X-rays
  • Echocardiograms
  • Electrocardiograms

Complying with your physician’s recommendations of testing, medications, and procedures can help show an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) that you are doing everything you can to resolve the problems you are experiencing.

If you find yourself unable to work due to any physical or mental impairment, it is important to remember there are time limits and rules that may need to be addressed to ensure you get the benefits you may be entitled to.  While the SSA may help you along the way, it is in your best interest to stay on top of your claim.  Ensuring that your medical record is complete and that you are arguing valid legal arguments can help persuade the Social Security Administration that you are disabled and entitled to benefits.

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