Cardiovascular System, Heart Conditions and Social Security Disability

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of disability particularly among those who are older or obese. Many heart conditions are also hereditary. Regardless of the cause I hope this page gives you some insight into how a Social Security disability claim for a heart condition is handled by SSA. I also hope you find the information on this page useful in helping you win your claim for SSDI or SSI for your heart condition. When reading this page it is also important to utilize the links within the text that will explain certain aspects of an SSD claim in more detail.  You must also claim any other medical conditions whether they are related to your heart condition or not since Social Security will evaluate your claim based on a combination of all your impairments together and how they affect you. For example, it is very common for those with serious heart conditions to suffer from depression due to the stress and fear of having a cardiovascular disease and from the change in lifestyle a cardiac condition causes you. As stated above, the other medical conditions you have do not have to be secondary to your cardiovascular disease to be considered in a Social Security disability claim.

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The Medical Listings and Cardiovascular or Heart Conditions

This page will discuss Social Security disability as it relates to cardiovascular medical conditions. The medical listings for cardiovascular heart conditions has a separate listing for each of the following conditions: chronic heart failure (systolic failure, diastolic failure) , ischemic heart disease(myocardial ischemia), recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease(cyanotic or acyanotic), heart transplant, aneurysm of aorta or major branches (atherosclerosis, cystic medial necrosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma), chronic venous insufficiency, and peripheral arterial disease. We are equally one of these listings is not the only way you can win it SSD or SSI claim based on your cardiac condition. However, you should review all of the cardiovascular system listings to see where your particular medical condition may be covered. If after reviewing you think you may meet or equal a listed impairment you should take a copy of all of the listings under this category to your doctor that is treating you for your heart condition to see if he or she feels you meet or equal one of the these listings. If they feel you do you should ask them to write you a report explaining your medical condition, the tests that were performed, the results of those tests, and how it shows you meet or equal a listed impairment.

How Social Security Determines if You Are Disabled at Steps 4 and 5

As I stated earlier, this is not the only way you can win your Social Security disability claim based on the cardiovascular heart condition. The Social Security Administration uses a five step process to determine if you are disabled. The medical listings is only step three of the process. It is still important however, because if you do a listing you are found disabled and do not have to go two steps four and five of the process. 

Now let us assume that you do not meet or equal listed impairment. You must now prove you are disabled by going through steps four and five of the process Social Security uses to determine if you are disabled. Take a moment to look at the above link that explains all five steps. As you can see, your age education and past work experience are considered at steps four and five. What is essential at the steps is how your heart condition along with any other medical conditions you have functionally limits you. You must be able to show that you're functional limitations prevent you from doing your previous work that you did in the past 15 years and if you are able to show that then you would move to step five of the process. Whether you have to show you are limited to less than sedentary work, sedentary work, or sometimes even light work to be found disabled depends upon your age education and past work. For a more detailed description see my page about the medical vocational guidelines commonly referred to as the Grid Rules. So if you do not meet or equal a listed impairment it is imperative for your case to get your doctors opinion of your limitations from your cardiac and other medical conditions. You can do this by getting a report from your doctor that explains your medical condition and how it limits you or by having your doctor fill out a residual functional capacity form also called an RFC form

Lawyer for Your Disability Claim for Heart Condition 

Given the complex medical terminology and rules in a Social Security disability claim for cardiovascular disease you may want to consider seeking the help of a Social Security Disability lawyer for your claim. An attorney can help make sure all of the relevant medical evidence is submitted to Social Security and can also help secure opinion evidence from your treating doctor which can be essential to your claim.  They will also have a good understanding of the medical listings and five step process to be able to present a theory of your case to give you the best chance to win your claim for disability.  I think it is important to get a lawyer's help when you apply for SSD benefits to assure your claim is handled properly from the beginning. If you have been denied once or twice already and then then you may want to strongly consider hiring a lawyer to help figure out why you have not been able to win your claim to this point. If however, you decide you want to do your claim on your own this page and the rest of this website should help you obtain the information you need to present the best case you can. You can find a link above to help you find a lawyer if you prefer a local lawyer just note that on the form.

Heart Condition Terminology in an SSD or SSI Claim

When you have a cardiovascular disability the terminology and test results can be quite confusing. Some common terminology used is coronary artery disease, ischemia, heart failure, Dyspnea, fatigue, palpitations, or chest discomfort, premature ventricular contractions (ventricular tachycardia), ventricular dysfunction, congestive heart failure, Cardiovascular System, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, cardiac defibrillator, syncope, blood pressure, ECG, myocardial infarction,  angina, cardiac catheterization, stress test, Acute myocardial infarction, angioplasty with or without stenting, and aortic stenosis. Because of the many complications that can occur in the cardiovascular system the explanation of your condition is best left up to your treating doctor to explain. 

There are some other things worth mentioning on this page. It is very common for people that are obese or even just overweight to have medical conditions related to their cardiovascular system. Social Security must consider the combined effects of obesity with your cardiovascular impairments to determine if you are disabled under the listings or at step five of the process. It is very common for SSA or ALJs to not consider the affects of obesity on your heart condition as required by SSA rules, so if you are obese it helps for your doctor to explain how your weight complicates your cardiovascular medical condition and how it further limits you functionally.

It is also worth mentioning that type of evidence SSA needs to evaluate your case. This evidence should include reports from your doctors of the history of your illness, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and your prescribed treatment. It is important that you can show your treatment over time which will show the progression of the disease.  You should also make SSA aware of any past or planned surgeries for your condition.  It can be important to show the treatment and medication you receive over time to give a better picture of your heart condition and the limitations it causes you.  Also if your medication cause any side effects these should also be mentioned and documented by your doctor.

We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client relationship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified attorney.
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If you have a cardiovascular or heart condition and need help from a lawyer with your SSDI or SSI claim we are here to help so feel free to contact us