February is American Heart Month, a time set aside each year to raise awareness about heart health, heart disease and how to live a heart healthy lifestyle.
Heart disease and stroke are two of the three deadliest diseases in the United States, killing an estimated 750,000 people every year.
Because heart conditions can lead to serious side effects, individuals may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if they meet certain criteria. In general, the individual must experience severe symptoms that prevent them from working for at least one year or result in death.
A number of heart conditions are listed in the Social Security Administration's blue book of impairment listings in section 4.00 for Cardiovascular System – Adult. If you meet the requirements for one of these conditions, you will be able to receive benefits. Contact our Social Security disability lawyers to learn more.
Chronic Heart Failure
This condition is also known as congestive heart failure and occurs when the body cannot pump enough blood to fully oxygenate the body. In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must provide medical documentation that:
- Your heart is performing at 30 percent capacity or the left ventricular end diastolic dimensions are greater than 6 centimeters OR
- You have diastolic failure with a weakened left ventricle, a septum of 2.5 centimeters or thicker, and an enlarged left atrium of 4.5 centimeters or larger
You must also show that you experience at least one of the following:
- Three separate congestive heart failure episodes within the last 12 months that required medical intervention, hospital stays or treatment in the emergency room
- Severe symptoms that prevent you from completing an exercise test
- Consistent symptoms that prevent you from being able to complete daily activities
Ischemic Heart Disease
Also known as coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, this condition is caused by buildup of plaque and fatty deposits in the arteries, which can restrict blood flow and oxygen in the body. This condition can cause a heart attack.
In order to qualify for benefits, you must have an abnormal stress test, three separate ischemic episodes within the last 12 months, abnormal imaging results, and symptoms such as:
- Chest discomfort
- Pain or discomfort in the left arm, jaw, neck or upper abdomen
- Shortness of breath on exertion
- Variant angina
- Silent ischemia
This occurs when your heartbeat is irregular, races or beats slowly. To qualify for benefits, you must provide medical evidence that your condition causes you to regularly pass out or come close to passing out.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
This occurs when a deep vein thrombosis or varicose veins cause damage to the veins in your legs and limit or prevent blood from flowing back to the heart. Qualifying for disability benefits requires you provide medical documentation of severe swelling of two-thirds of the leg between the knee and ankle or between the hip and ankle or cramping, burning or itching in the legs, and recurring wounds that do not heal or scaling of the skin that last at least three months despite treatment.
The SSA will not approve benefits for a stroke immediately after the event because it often takes at least three months for long-term effects to occur. In order to qualify for benefits, you must meet the listing requirements for section 11.04 for a Central Nervous System Vascular Accident. This requires that you no longer are able to speak or write effectively or have lost control or coordination of at least two extremities. If you have lost vision, you may qualify under several vision loss sections, including:
- Section 2.02 for loss of visual acuity
- 2.03 for the better eye section involving contraction of the visual field
- 2.04 loss of visual effectiveness
The disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC are experienced in handling disability claims involving many of these heart conditions. We can guide you through both the application and appeals processes. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation to get started.