Heart conditions and cardiovascular diseases can often destabilize the life of an individual, by creating hurdles and challenges in the daily life of the affected person. In several cases, a severe heart condition may prevent you from working full-time. In such cases, it would be natural to explore the option of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
Some cardiac impairments and heart conditions like congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, recurrent arrhythmias, and heart transplants, may automatically qualify you for SSD benefits through the “Blue Book” Listing of Impairments. In other cases, you may be entitled to disability benefits by virtue of a “medical-vocational allowance” granted by Social Security if you are unable to work full time.
“Blue Book” Listing for Common Heart Conditions
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a Listing of Impairments called the “Blue Book,” which contains both physical and mental conditions that are disabling. If you meet the criteria for any one of these conditions, you will automatically qualify for benefits provided you meet the other conditions.
However, only the most serious heart conditions are found in the Blue Book. Even some individuals who have received stents or undergone heart attacks fail to meet any of the listings.
The listings for heart conditions are found in Section 4.00 of the Blue Book under The Cardiovascular System. However, these listings can be complex and difficult to comprehend. At Law Offices of Daniel Berger, we have a team of disability experts and advocates who can help you understand hyper-technical details to infer whether you meet or “equal” any of these listings.
The following are some of the common heart conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits under the SSA Bluebook or a medical-vocational allowance.
Congestive Heart Failure
It refers to a situation where the heart fails to pump enough blood to different organs of the body. Therefore, the blood returning to the heart gets accumulated and causes congestion in the heart’s tissues. Congestive heart failure gets exhibited through different symptoms like shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Congestive heart failure falls within the Blue Book listing for “chronic heart failure.”
Coronary Artery Disease
There are two types of this disease- atherosclerosis, and arteriosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is caused by constant deposition and buildup of fat and calcium in the arteries, which results in reduced blood flow to the heart. Arteriosclerosis occurs when those plaque deposits cause arterial walls to harden. Both these conditions can together cause a heart attack or myocardial infarction.
There are different symptoms of coronary artery disease such as chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath, particularly during exertion. This disease can be diagnosed with coronary angiography (catheterization), an electrocardiogram, or stress tests.
A heart transplant can lead to severe lifestyle changes. Individuals having undergone a heart transplant are deemed disabled for the one year following the heart transplant surgery under Listing 4.09. After one year, you may still be considered disabled if you qualify in one of the listings or through a medical-vocational allowance.
Aorta or Major Branch Aneurysm
Aneurysm refers to a condition where weakness or damage to a blood vessel can cause it to bulge at its weakest point. This condition can affect any part of the body but is most often found in the wall of the aorta. Aorta is the large artery that plays a critical role in heart function. When an aneurysm ruptures in the aorta or brain, it can result in grave consequences and even cause fatality.
Recurrent Heart Arrhythmias
Arrhythmias can also be described as abnormal heartbeat, which can be caused by the heart’s internal electrical system. There can be three such conditions- too fast (tachycardia), too slow (bradycardia), or erratically (fibrillation). Arrhythmias can result in fluttering in the chest, fainting, dizziness, or shortness of breath. However, it is unlikely for an individual to qualify for disability benefits based on recurrent heart arrhythmias alone.
Medical-vocational Allowance for a Heart Condition
Even if you do not meet the requirements of a listing, you may still be considered disabled based on your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). RFC describes the highest potential of your work despite the functional limitations. Based on your condition, the doctor will give you an RFC level of sedentary work, light work, or medium work. If the SSA considers that your RFC keeps you from working full-time, you will be able to receive disability benefits under a medical-vocational allowance.
Contact NY Disability For An Experienced Disability Lawyer
At NY Disability, we are committed to the cause of the disabled community and helping you win the benefits you need and deserve. If you or a loved one suffers from a heart condition, contact us today and we will explore if you can apply for disability benefits based on that condition.