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Can you get Disability for High Blood Pressure?

Appealing for benefits is best done under the guidance of an experienced disability lawyer.

Can I get disability benefits if I am suffering from the effects of high blood pressure?

Author: Attorney Lonnie Roach

There is no specific impairment listing for hypertension in Social Security’s Blue Book. However, individuals with hypertension often have other medical disorders which are listed or contribute to their disability.

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Hypertension is not recognized as a disability by the SSA. However, they will consider it. If you have been denied disability for hypertension call the ss disability attorney’s at 512-454-4000

Approximately one out of two adults in the United States has hypertension.

Commonly referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension can affect a person’s ability to sleep, concentrate and deal with stress. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to hardening of the arteries, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and vision problems.

The heart pumps blood into the blood vessels which carry blood throughout the body.

Blood pressure is the force of blood pulsing against blood vessel walls. If blood pressure is high, the heart has to work harder to pump blood out through the body. A blood pressure reading is a combination of two measures, systolic and diastolic. Systolic (the top number) is the amount of pressure in arteries during the contraction of heart muscle. Diastolic (the bottom number) is blood pressure when the heart is between beats. The more blood the heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher the blood pressure.

Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from high blood pressure. If you have been denied disability don’t give up!

Normal blood pressure is a reading of 120/80 or under and is read “120 over 80.” After normal, the stages of blood pressure are measured as follows:

  •    Elevated – 120-129/less than 80
  •   Stage 1 Hypertension – 130-139/80-89
  •   Stage 2 Hypertension – 140 and above/90 and above
  •   Hypertension crisis – Above 180/Above 120

One-third of people who suffer from high blood pressure have no symptoms until their condition reaches a severe stage.

The only way to know whether your blood pressure is too high is through regular checkups or to monitor your blood pressure at home.

Signs and symptoms of hypertension include:

  •    Severe headache
  •   Vision problems
  •   Irregular heartbeat
  •   Difficulty breathing
  •   Chest pain
  •   Fatigue

Ninety-five percent of all cases of hypertension are “essential” high blood pressure, meaning there is no underlying cause.

In contrast, cases of “secondary” hypertension are associated with a specific cause, the most common of which is kidney disease. Tumors or abnormalities affecting the adrenal glands, birth control pills, pregnancy and medications that constrict the blood vessels like cold remedies and decongestants may also cause secondary high blood pressure.

There are several risk factors that have been linked to hypertension in general:

  •    Being overweight
  •   Lack of physical activity
  •   Smoking
  •   Stress
  •   Diet high in salt
  •   Alcohol consumption
  •   Family history of hypertension
  •   Chronic kidney disease
  •   Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  •   Sleep apnea
  •   Age over 65

Hypertension is diagnosed by taking three or more blood pressure readings at separate times to determine its severity and consistency.

Treatment involves changes in diet, regular physical activity, weight loss and limited alcohol.

Even if a person with high blood pressure has difficulty completing tasks at work, it is unlikely an individual will be approved for Social Security Disability benefits under a diagnosis of hypertension.

There is no specific impairment listing for hypertension in Social Security’s Blue Book. However, individuals with hypertension often have other medical disorders which are listed or contribute to their disability.

First you must meet Social Security’s basic eligibility requirements: 1) your medical condition must prevent you from working and must last at least 12 months or be expected to last 12 months; and 2) you must have worked long enough at a job where you paid Social Security taxes.

Social Security will review your medical records to determine if your disability matches one of their impairment listings. It will look for organ damage and whether your high blood pressure is under control. If high blood pressure has damaged your vision, Social Security will evaluate your disability under visual disorders; if you have had a stroke caused by high blood pressure, your disability would be evaluated under neurological disorders.

Social Security is primarily concerned with how your disability has limited your daily activities.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to prove your hypertension is more severe than average and you are unable to work in any type of job on a consistent basis. Though hypertension does not qualify as a disability by itself, hypertension should be stated as a diagnosis in your application. You should also list all the ways high blood pressure impacts and limits your daily activities; for example, vision problems may prevent you from driving and headaches and nausea may make it difficult to perform many tasks.

Your application should include:

  •    Records of all blood pressure readings taken by medical providers and yourself
  •   Laboratory test results, such as cholesterol or kidney function tests
  •   Results of MRIs, CT scans and stress tests
  •   Medications, diet changes and therapies you have tried – especially those that did not work
  •   Physician notes detailing limitations caused by your hypertension

After reviewing your medical records, Social Security will evaluate your residual functional capacity (RFC).

An RFC assessment determines the most stressful work you can perform considering your physical and mental limitations by evaluating your ability to walk, stand, lift, sit, use your arms and hands, interact with the public, and follow instructions. Social Security makes this determination based on medical evidence, doctors’ statements, opinions from medical professionals, statements from your family and friends, and your own statements. A doctor might state you are unable to work in a high stress environment because it raises your blood pressure or hypertension may cause complications with your heart or lungs, preventing even sedentary jobs. Social Security uses the RFC assessment to decide what jobs you can still do, if any. If there is some type of work you can still perform, your claim will be denied, but if your symptoms are so limiting that there is no job you can do, you may be awarded benefits under a “medical-vocational allowance.”

Remember, even though hypertension is not listed by Social Security as an impairment, you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you have another impairment; for example, diabetes.

Applicants often have more than one illness or injury that prevents them from working full time. By itself one disorder may not meet the requirements of an impairment as stated in Social Security’s Blue Book. However, if an applicant has multiple medical conditions, Social Security must consider how those health issues, combined together, limit an applicant’s ability to hold a job and perform necessary daily tasks.

If you have hypertension and it has impacted your ability to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability income.

However, because Social Security eligibility requirements are complex, you may want to consult an experienced Social Security attorney to ensure your best chance for approval.

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.


  1.   The Duration of Work test.   Whether you have worked long enough to be covered under SSDI.
  2.   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.
  1.   Are you working?   Your disability must be “total”.
  2.   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.
  3.   Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?   The SSA has a “List of Impairments” that automatically qualify as “severe” disabilities. If your disease is not listed this does not mean you cannot get disability, it means you must prove you cannot maintain employment due to your limitations.
  4.   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.
  5.   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.

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Disability benefits are an important source of income for those who are unable to work. If you are not able to work due to accident 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. Call 512-454-4000 and get help NOW.

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"Words can not truly express the gratitude that I feel toward Mr. Lonnie Roach and his professional team. I give them an A+++. Very compassionate and prompt. Their priorities are first and foremost helping you succeed at your case. When you feel helpless, feeling like someone is on your side can mean the world to you. Thank you for working for the people."
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Attorney Lonnie RoachAuthor: Attorney Lonnie Roach has been practicing law for 29 years. He is Superlawyers rated by Thomson Reuters and is Top AV Preeminent® and Client Champion Gold rated by Martindale Hubbell. Because of his extensive litigation experience Mr. Roach is board certified from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Lonnie is admitted to practice in the United States District Court - all Texas Districts and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Roach is a member of the Texas trial lawyers association, has been active in the Austin Bar Association and is a past Director of the Capital Area Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Roach and all the members of Bemis, Roach & Reed have been active participants in the Travis County Lawyer referral service.

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