Heart Failure and Social Security Disability
Congestive Heart Failure also referred to as Heart Failure, can be a serious, life-threatening condition. It is estimated that 4.8 million Americans suffer from the condition in the United States alone. Due to the limitations that Heart Failure can place on a sufferer, individuals suffering from the condition are oftentimes unable to perform substantial gainful work activity. The financial impact caused by this can be devastating to a family. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may offset some of the financial burden caused by the condition. If you suffer from Heart Failure and are unable to work because of your condition, you may be wondering if you qualify for disability benefits. The information below can help you understand how your Heart Failure affects your Social Security Disability claim.
Heart Failure - Condition and Symptoms
When a person is suffering from Heart Failure, their heart is not able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. Some instances of Heart Failure occur because the heart can't fill up with enough blood. In other instances the heart can fill up with enough blood but cannot pump the blood with enough force to meet the needs of the rest of the body. Some patients suffer from both types of Heart Failure.
Heart Failure is a condition that develops over time. As the pumping action of the heart grows weaker, the condition becomes more severe. Although Heart Failure can affect the right or left side of the heart, in most cases both sides of the heart are affected.
Heart Failure affecting the right side of the heart usually results in the heart being unable to pump enough blood for the lungs to pick up sufficient oxygen. This can lead to a buildup of fluid in the feet, legs, ankles, liver and abdomen. Heart Failure affecting the left side of the body occurs when the heart can't pump enough oxygen-enriched blood throughout the body. This often results in shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.
A variety of factors can contribute to Heart Failure, including past heart attacks, coronary heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. There is currently no cure for the condition, although treatments are available to help people who suffer from Heart Failure live longer, more productive lives. Treatments for Heart Failure include ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta blockers, digitalis and vasodilators.
Heart Failure is a serious condition and can, at times, be life-threatening. Oftentimes individuals are unable to work due to their Heart Failure condition. If you suffer from Heart Failure that has prevented you from working, you may want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Heart Failure
When evaluating a claim for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) references a listing of impairments referred to as the Blue Book. Heart Failure is listed in the SSA's listing of impairments under Section 4.02.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability under this section of the impairment listings, you must have medical evidence meeting the SSA's guidelines. This includes an x-ray showing that your heart has been enlarged, an ejection fraction of 30 percent or less from the left ventricle and symptoms that prevent you from performing gainful work activity such as fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath.
To be approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be undergoing treatment for your Heart Failure condition. Your application should include a complete medical history documenting how your Heart Failure has affected your lifestyle, what limitations it has imposed, what medical treatments you have undergone and how you have responded to the provided treatments.
If enough medical evidence is not included with your Social Security Disability application, you may be required to undergo a consultative exam. This exam in and of itself is normally not enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. Your medical history and statements provided by your treating physicians tend to hold more weight than the consultative exam when applying for disability benefits.
Heart Failure and Your Social Security Disability Case
Many people assume that a diagnosis of Heart Failure is enough to have their initial application for Social Security Disability approved. This is not necessarily the case. The SSA only approves 30 percent of initial Social Security Disability applications. With that being said, however, it is possible that your chances are greater than 30 percent if your specific case of Heart Failure meets all of the criteria set forth by the SSA under Section 4.02 of the guidelines.
If your initial application is denied, you will need to file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the notice of determination. You should consider hiring a Social Security Disability attorney, as this will increase your chances of being awarded disability benefits at the initial as well as appeals stages.
- Do You Qualify?
- Application Process
- Medical Conditions
- Disability Resources