Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Report – 2015 Update. It claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined, and someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 34 seconds.
With such a high rate of heart disease, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has seen an influx of applications for disability benefits from people with heart disease. If you are seeking Social Security benefits for heart disease in Clayton GA, a Social Security disability representative can help you present your claim to SSA in a way that will maximize your chances of qualifying for benefits. Find out if you are eligible for social security benefits for heart disease in Clayton GA.
The Heart Disease Listing
Heart disease affects the heart and blood vessels and can include numerous different conditions. Many heart disease conditions are related to atherosclerosis, which develops when plaque builds up in the arteries. The plaque can slow the flow of blood, or even completely block blood flow. Blocked passages can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The SSA maintains regulations called the Listing of Impairments which include severity criteria for various types of heart disease. If your condition meets the criteria or is as severe, you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. Category 4.00 on the Listing describes the characteristics of “severe” cardiovascular system conditions, including the following conditions:
Chronic Heart Failure – When heart disease becomes so severe that blood vessels are entirely blocked or compromised, heart failure may occur. There are medical tests that can measure the flow of blood through your heart and determine the functionality of your heart. If your heart is 30% or less functional, you automatically qualify for disability benefits. If it is functioning at a level greater than 30%, but you can prove that you experience significant pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms that limit your exertion, you may also be found to be disabled.
Ischemic Heart Disease – Heart disease can cause heart attacks, and ischemic heart disease is the condition prior to a heart attack that causes arterial problems. Because blood is not flowing properly, your heart does not receive enough oxygen through the bloodstream. Stress tests and angiographies can diagnose ischemic heart disease.
Recurrent Arrhythmias – A heart arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat that may be caused by many different things, including heart disease. Severe arrhythmia can result in racing heartbeat, slow heartbeat, and syncope (fainting).
Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease – A congenital heart condition is one that occurs at birth, as opposed to developing over time. Heart defects may be surgically treated, or they may not need such invasive treatment. However, this condition can result in the inability to exert yourself on a sustained basis.
Heart Transplant – A heart transplant may be necessary for many reasons. Although you may have qualified for disability benefits with the condition that resulted in the need for a heart transplant, you may also qualify for extended benefits after a heart transplant. Further, complications of heart surgery can result in temporary or permanent disability.
Aneurysm – An aneurysm occurs when the wall of a blood vessel bulges due to weakness and high pressure. This can be caused by a breakdown of blood vessels or blockages in the veins and arteries. The wall of a blood vessel may become so compromised that it ruptures, sometimes causing a fatal bleeding.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency – When a heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently, you may be diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency. This may result in swelling, difficulty walking and standing, and painful sores that take an extended amount of time to heal.
Peripheral Arterial Disease – Your arteries may become diseased if they become narrowed and restricted. Blood cannot flow to the heart, resulting in atherosclerosis. Inadequate blood flow may also result in ischemic heart disease. Peripheral arterial disease may be diagnosed with an ECG, EKG, stress test, or cardiac catheterization.
If You Don’t Qualify Under the Listing
If your heart disease is not sufficiently severe to qualify you for benefits under the Listing of Impairments, you may still be eligible for disability benefits. You will need to prove you can no longer perform your past relevant work (generally the easiest job you had in the past 15 years for long enough to learn how to do it) or any other suitable full-time work given your age education and experience.
What Do I Need to Do to Prove I Cannot Work Due to Heart Disease?
To succeed on a disability claim based on heart disease, it is essential that you receive continuous care from a licensed healthcare professional. Your condition must be medically determinable — that is, you must prove it through medically acceptable procedures. Your description of your symptoms is not enough to prove that you have a condition that is severe enough to prevent you from substantial work. The SSA describes the following evidence that it needs in order to award disability benefits:
Medically Acceptable Procedures – You must show that you have heart disease with medically acceptable procedures, such as tests and laboratory results. Radiological tests may include ECGs, EKGs, MRIs, CAT scans, and X-rays. Biopsies, exploratory scoping, and blood screenings can also be helpful.
Detailed Medical Records – Your doctor should have detailed office notes regarding your diagnosis, the onset and expected duration of your condition, functional capacity and limitations, past and present medical treatment, and recommended treatment going forward. Your doctor may also complete a physical residual functional capacity assessment form to determine what you can and cannot do due to your impairment.
Physical Examination – It is essential that you show, through objective evidence, that you are unable to physically endure sustained work activity, 40 hours per week. A physical examination will test your reflexes, flexibility, sensation, muscle strength, and range of motion, all of which can be affected by heart disease.
Tips for Applying for Disability with Heart Disease
Heart disease can be caused by several different conditions, all of which have various levels of severity. In order to prove that you have heart disease that is severe enough to prevent you from substantial gainful activity for at least one year, you must see a doctor regularly. You must be able to provide medical evidence in the form of records and tests. Those tests should be repeated periodically to show the progression of your heart disease.
It is also helpful to provide a statement from your doctor as well as someone who knows you well. Both can provide detailed information about your ability to function on a sustained basis.
A seasoned Social Security representative can help you obtain the evidence necessary to prove that you are eligible for Social Security benefits for heart disease in Clayton Ga. Call Adams & Associates Disability Inc. at 1-888-551-1190 to schedule your free case evaluation today.