Social Security Disability for Heart Disease and Heart Disorders

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An individual with a heart disorder may qualify to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Individuals may be eligible for benefits if:

  • the heart disorder very seriously impairs the person’s ability to work;
  • there is medical evidence supporting an established and qualifying diagnosis or heart disorder; and
  • the condition has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.

Heart Disorder Diagnostic Categories

Social Security considers a heart disorder to be any disorder that influences the appropriate functioning of the heart or the circulatory system, more specifically, arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic drainage. The heart disorder can be congenital (hereditary/present at birth) or acquired (developed after birth).

In order to determine who qualifies for government assistance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) carefully defines disability. Some of these definitions are called Listings. These Listings are broken up by Adult and Child.

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Adult Heart Disorders

Adult heart disorders are separated as follows:

  • Chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.
  • Discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, with or without necrosis of the heart muscle.
  • Syncope, or near syncope, due to insufficient cerebral perfusion from any cardiac cause, such as impediment of flow or interruption in rhythm or conduction causing scarce cardiac output.
  • Central cyanosis due to right-to-left shunt, reduced oxygen concentration in the arterial blood, or pulmonary vascular disease.

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Evidence

In order for the SSA to grant Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, the claimant must provide medical evidence documenting the persistence and severity of the condition. This would normally include thorough reports of the claimant’s medical history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, surgical records, and any prescribed treatment or therapy. It should also include opinion evidence submitted by a medical specialist, known as a cardiologist. This evidence will help the SSA assess the severity and duration of a person’s cardiovascular impairment.

Unless the SSA concludes that a decision can be made with the current evidence, Social Security will review all of your treatment records. Depending on a person’s specific heart disorder, the SSA may ask for cardiovascular test results, including electrocardiograph (EKG) or electrocardiogram (ECG) results, exercise tests, exercise tolerance test (ETT) results, and/or drug-induced stress test results.

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Childhood Heart Disorders

Children may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for a heart disorder, or cardiovascular impairments. The most frequently occurring heart disorders that children suffer from are categorized in the following way:

  • Chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.
  • Discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, with or without necrosis of heart muscle.
  • Syncope, or near syncope, due to insufficient cerebral perfusion from any cardiac cause, such as impediment of flow or interruption in rhythm or conduction causing scarce cardiac output.
  • Central cyanosis due to right-to-left shunt, reduced oxygen concentration in the arterial blood, or pulmonary vascular disease.
  • Disorders of the veins or arteries (for example, obstruction, rupture, or aneurysm) that may lead to impairments of the lower extremities (peripheral vascular disease), the central nervous system, the eyes, the kidneys, and other organs.

Evidence

The same medical evidence and documentation requirements for adults apply to children seeking SSD benefits.

Obtaining the Benefits You Deserve

At Marasco & Nesselbush, we understand that any type of persistent, serious medical condition presents physiological, emotional, and financial challenges. However, heart disorders are especially serious, since these cardiovascular impairments affect a person’s blood and oxygen supply. Whether someone is born with a severe heart disorder or develops the condition later in life, cardiovascular impairments can tremendously impact the abilities to work, support a family, and function without significant medical care.

While Social Security Disability benefits can provide support for people with heart disorders, obtaining these benefits is no easy task. Fortunately, the experienced RI Social Security Disability attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush can help you evaluate your eligibility for disability benefits, and can represent you throughout the disability determination process. In many cases, claimants are denied SSD benefits simply because they did not submit the appropriate medical evidence. When you become our client, we will work with your doctors and specialists to make sure that your medical documentation is complete and thorough, and we will represent you until a final determination is made. To learn more about how we can be of assistance, please fill out a free case evaluation form, or call 401-443-2999 to schedule a free consultation at one of our local offices.