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What Heart Problems Qualify for Social Security Disability?

There are a number of heart conditions which often qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. While you may apply for Social Security Disability benefits for any heart problem which causes you to be unable to work, there are a number of heart conditions which are specifically listed by the Social Security Administration. These heart problems have specific guidelines regarding how the SSA will determine whether or not to consider you totally disabled.

Like most disabilities, the severity of your heart problem carries as much or more weight than what kind of heart problems you have. Even if your heart problem does not meet the criteria for total disability as listed by the SSA, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability if you can show how your heart problem precludes you from doing any kind of work which you have done or for which you could be trained. In addition to medical records and employability, the Social Security Administration will examine how your heart problems affect your daily activities.

While not exhaustive, here are some of the more common heart problems which often qualify sufferers for Social Security Disability:

  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency. The hearts of those with chronic venous insufficiency are unable to pump blood from the legs back to the heart. This generally results in swelling, difficulty standing, and painful ulcers. To qualify for Social Security Disability with chronic venous insufficiency, you need to have ulcers that don’t heal in 3 months.
  • Recurrent Arrhythmias. This condition causes your heartbeat to be irregular; to race; or to beat slowly. To qualify for Social Security Disability due to recurrent arrhythmias, you must demonstrate that your condition causes you to pass out or to have frequent spells in which you come close to passing out.
  • Chronic Heart Failure. Also called congestive heart failure, there are medical tests administered to measure the flow of blood from your heart. Your heart needs to be performing at 30% capacity to qualify as totally disabled. Additionally, you need to demonstrate that your heart problem causes you pain, even while not exerting yourself.
  • Ischemic Heart Disease. This is a pre-heart attack condition which is caused by problems with your arteries. Those who have this condition have poor oxygen flow within their blood stream. This condition is normally diagnosed as a result of a particularly poor stress test or angiography.
  • Hypertensive Heart Disease. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, your hypertension must be so serious that you would also meet the criteria for disability from ischemic heart disease or chronic heart failure.
  • Bear in mind that you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits even if your heart problems do not fall strictly within the guidelines for total disability, so long as you can convince the Social Security Administration that your heart problems make it impossible for you to engage in any work. In addition, you must show them that your heart problem makes training for a job other than your original impossible. A qualified disability advocate can help you determine whether you should pursue a Social Security Disability claim.

    If you think you might qualify for Social Security Disability benefits based on a heart problem, the two people you should get in your corner are your doctor and a Social Security Disability attorney. Your doctor will need to substantiate the medical information, as well as document what attempts are being made to control or improve your heart condition. An attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability gives you the best chances of having your disability claim accepted, as well as helping you through the appeals process, if it should become necessary.