Can I qualify for disability benefits if I am suffering from heart disease?
Author Attorney Lloyd Bemis:
If you are suffering from a form of heart disease you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has specific language and conditions related to qualifying for benefits while experiencing symptoms of heart disease such a Chronic Heart Failure.
Heart disease is no longer for members of the men’s only club.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, responsible for one in four female deaths. Despite increased awareness, only 54 percent of women recognize heart disease as their number one enemy. A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States.
More alarmingly, women often differ significantly from their male counterparts in terms of heart-related symptoms.
Men often present with the classic, clutching of the chest while almost 64 percent of women are unaware of the silent but deadly disease. Women often present without any heart-related symptoms at all. For many, feelings of dull chest discomfort, pain in the neck or lower jaw or pain in the upper abdomen or back are often understandably dismissed or self-diagnosed as stress or anxiety.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) specifically lists heart disease as a condition that can qualify for disability benefits.
They recognize heart disease under Section 4.00 Cardiovascular System – Adult, Disability Evaluation Blue Book as an approved medical disorder possibly eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if all criteria has been met.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
- The Duration of Work test. Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
- The Current Work Test. Whether you worked recently enough for the work to actually count toward coverage.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
- Are you working? Your disability must be “total”.
- Is your medical condition severe? Your disability must be “severe” enough to interfere with your ability to perform basic work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, and remembering.
- Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments? The SSA has a “List of Impairments” that automatically qualify as “severe” disabilities. Heart disease is listed.
- Can you do the work you did before? SSDI rules look at whether your medical condition prevents you from doing the work you did prior to developing the condition.
- Can you do any other type of work? If you cannot do your prior work, an evaluation is made as to whether you can perform any other kind of work.
More details can be found on our Qualifying for Disability page.
If you have been recently diagnosed with a heart condition and find yourself limited or unable to continue with employment, you should consider contacting an experienced Texas SSDI attorney.
The following is a list of the most common of heart disease diagnoses approved for review by the SSA.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Diagnosis: Heart’s inability to pump blood from the legs back to the ventricle, generally resulting in swelling, mobility issues and painful ulcers.
SSA Criteria: Unhealed ulcers for a period of more than three months.
Diagnosis: Irregular heartbeat presenting as rapid or abnormal rhythm.
SSA Criteria: Medical documentation of passing out or continual near episodes.
Chronic Heart Failure
Diagnosis: Congestive heart failure documented by medical testing records illustrating altered blood flow to the heart.
SSA Criteria: Heart must be functioning 30 percent or lower to qualify and documentation of pain related symptoms occur even during times of rest.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Diagnosis: Pre-heart attack condition often a result of arterial problems decreasing oxygen flow within the bloodstream.
SSA Criteria: Must be medically documentation via a series of failed stress tests or angiographies.
Hypertensive Heart Disease
Diagnosis: Continual high blood pressure that contributes to the lessening of heart functionality.
SSA Criteria: Must be medically documented and also meet SSA criteria for Ischemic or Chronic heart disease.
These are just a few of the approved heart-related conditions considered by the SSA for those seeking SSDI. You may still qualify for benefits even if your condition does not fall categorically under SSA guidelines. If you fall into this category, you will need to prove that your condition prohibits any gainful employment as well as the severity of your condition.
Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you not able to work due to injury or illness, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability or Long Term Disability benefits. If you have applied for benefits and been denied, contact the attorneys at Bemis, Roach and Reed for a free consultation. We strongly protect the rights of our clients to ensure they receive the disability assistance they deserve. Contact our Texas Social Security attorneys at 512-454-4000 to schedule your free consultation today.
Author: Attorney Lloyd Bemis has been practicing law for over 35 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Through his extensive litigation Mr. Bemis obtained dual board certifications from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lloyd is admitted to practice in the United States District Court – all Texas Districts and has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Bemis is a member of the Travis County Bar Association. He has been active in the American Association for Justice and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Bemis and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.
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