Heart conditions remain one of the most serious medical problems in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, heart disease claims the lives of about 655,000 Americans every year. These conditions can mean serious medical expenses and lost productivity as well. The CDC estimates that healthcare costs for treating heart problems total around $219 billion every year. If you suffer from a heart condition, you could be facing significant medical bills. On top of that, you might not be able to work. The good news is that heart conditions may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). The dedicated attorneys of Nikolaus & Hohenadel can help.
What Does Social Security Look For?
As in all disability cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to understand how your heart condition affects your ability to work. This means that for most heart conditions, the SSA is not as interested in the underlying problem. Rather, Social Security wants to know whether you can work in spite of your heart’s reduced ability to pump blood and related issues.
Of course, there are a number of heart conditions that have various effects on the human body. How a specific problem affects one person will be different than how it affects someone else. SSA has to consider your individual medical and work records in making its determination.
What Are Some Common Heart Conditions That May Be Eligible For SSD?
With that in mind, there are a few heart conditions that are routinely approved for SSD benefits, depending on the circumstances. Here are just some of them:
Coronary artery disease. This happens when the arteries become too clogged to allow proper blood flow to the heart, resulting in a condition called atherosclerosis. Coronary artery disease is diagnosed using an electrocardiogram, exercise stress tests, and cardiac catheterization.
Social Security would need to see that you suffer certain symptoms, such as angina, and that you have an abnormal stress test, ischemic episodes, or abnormal imaging results. This sort of medical evidence, combined with reduced ability to work, will help you win disability.
Congestive heart failure. This chronic condition causes the heart to fail to pump blood properly. Numerous other problems may result, such as fluid collecting in the lungs. A doctor can use a stethoscope to listen for a heart murmur, sounds of fluid in the lungs, or rapid heartbeat.
You will need to document this condition with extensive medical evidence. You may also have to submit to a physical examination and additional tests. Poor stress test results, abnormal imaging, and episodes of heart failure could qualify you for SSD.
Aneurysm. An aneurysm happens when part of an artery wall weakens and causes ballooning or abnormal widening. It can occur in the aorta, brain, intestine, spleen, or behind the knee. A ruptured aneurysm can lead to fatal bleeding.
Disability applicants generally need to show that physical exertion is too risky because it could cause a ruptured aneurysm. Again, comprehensive medical records are essential.
Arteriosclerosis. Not to be confused with atherosclerosis, this condition is sometimes called hardening of the arteries and is a consequence of aging. Blood vessels become thick and stiff, thereby restricting blood flow to your tissues and organs.v
Having detailed and updated medical records is key to winning disability for this condition. The SSA would have to see the type of documentation that supports claims related to coronary artery disease.
What Evidence Do I Need To Support My Disability Claim?
Some conditions, like those mentioned above, qualify for disability benefits because they meet Social Security’s complex listing of impairments. In examining your claim, SSA will review your medical records and compare them to specific symptoms contained in the listings.
Not all patients will meet the strict requirements of the listings, but they still may qualify for disability benefits. That’s where the residual functional capacity, or RFC, comes in. Your RFC is the most work that you can do on a regular and consistent basis despite the limitations presented by your condition. The SSA will determine your ability to sit, stand, walk, lift heavy objects, and engage in other physical exertion. Based on the RFC assigned to you, Social Security will determine whether you can return to your previous work or whether there are other jobs you can do.
Regardless, your medical records will be one of the most important aspects of your application for SSD. These records should include details about any medications you are taking, medical facilities you have visited for your condition, and doctors who have treated you.
Additionally, you should document your work history, including places worked, job titles, and especially details about your duties performed for each job. It’s a good idea to have at least 15 years of these records.
Contact Our Lancaster Sociavl Security Disability Attorneys For Patients With Heart Conditions
If you’re unable to work because of a heart condition, it’s important to not delay taking action. Even the best disability claims can take significant time to win Social Security’s approval.
Let the experienced team at Nikolaus & Hohenadel get to work for you today. We understand the challenges and difficulties of applying for disability benefits, and we help rejected claimants appeal adverse decisions as well. Call us today to learn more.