Heart disease impacts millions of Americans and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Each year, over 600,000 people die of coronary heart disease, and over a million people have a heart attack. For some people, these conditions are chronic and debilitating, preventing them from being able to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict guidelines about who can qualify for disability with a heart condition, and an experienced Social Security disability attorney can help you file a successful claim if you meet the impairment standards.
What Is Cardiovascular Impairment?
Any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system—including arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic drainage—is considered cardiovascular impairment by the SSA. The disorder can be congenital or acquired, but must meet the SSA’s general standard of disability, which is defined as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” The SSA’s Listing of Impairments, also known as the “Blue Book,” outlines the following types of cardiovascular impairment and the severity that must be present to qualify:
- Chronic heart failure. You may qualify for SSDI if you have systolic or diastolic failure resulting in symptoms that severely limit your ability to engage in activities of daily living, has caused three or more episodes of acute congestive heart failure, or prevents successful completion an exercise tolerance test.
- Ischemic heart disease. A person who cannot pass certain levels of an exercise tolerance test, has had three separate ischemic episodes, each requiring revascularization within a consecutive 12-month period, or has medical evidence, such as angiography, of coronary artery disease may qualify for SSDI.
- Recurrent arrhythmias. You may qualify if you have uncontrolled, recurrent episodes of cardiac loss of consciousness (syncope), despite prescribed treatment and documented by electrocardiography or by another medically acceptable testing.
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease. A congenital heart condition that is documented by a medically accepted test, meets certain medical criteria, and limits the person’s ability to perform necessary work tasks may qualify you for disability benefits.
- Heart transplant. A heart transplant patient can collect disability for one year following surgery but must be evaluated thereafter for residual impairment under another cardiovascular impairment.
- Aneurysm of aorta or major branches. When atherosclerosis, medial cystic necrosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma, or another condition causes an aneurysm that cannot be treated, the patient may qualify for SSDI.
- Chronic venous insufficiency. CVI is an improper functioning of the vein valves in the leg, causing swelling and skin changes. When someone with this condition meets certain medical standards, and the condition does not respond to treatment, they may qualify for disability.
- Peripheral arterial disease. This is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. If the condition meets certain systolic blood pressure readings in the ankle or toe, the applicant could qualify for SSDI.
Other conditions related to the cardiovascular system, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and angina, are not sufficient to support a determination of disability unless they contribute to one of the conditions listed above.
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits With the Help of Keller & Keller
If you have paid into the Social Security system for at least ten years and have a qualifying condition, you are eligible to apply for disability benefits. If a heart condition is preventing you from working, you will have to provide medical evidence of your diagnosis and meet the standards of disability set forth by the SSA. The disability attorneys at Keller & Keller can help you throughout this process.
As many as 70 percent of initial SSDI applications are denied because the applicant failed to meet important criteria. When you work with the Social Security disability attorneys at Keller & Keller in Indianapolis, we will make sure your application is complete and that you have strong accompanying evidence. Whether you are applying for the first time or have been denied and want to appeal, now is the time to contact our disability attorneys. We will put our experience to work for you!