Chronic venous insufficiency, also referred to as CVI, postphlebitic syndrome and postthrombotic syndrome, is a common medical condition that is estimated to affect between approximately two and five percent of the United States population. Due to the symptoms and complications of the disorder, many of the individuals who suffer from this condition are unable to maintain full-time work activity. The resulting financial stress can wreak havoc on an individual and their household. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic venous insufficiency and you are wondering how the condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency - Condition and Symptoms
Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that results in the veins being unable to pump enough oxygen-poor blood back to the heart. Sometimes referred to as an impaired musculovenous pump, the condition is caused by damaged valves and often occurs after a case of deep vein thrombosis. Individuals who are prone to leg injuries, such as paratroopers, utility pole linemen and those who have already suffered an injury have an increased risk of developing this condition.
The body requires functional venous valves to provide for the efficient return of blood from the lower extremities back to the heart. Because of this, CVI most often occurs in the veins of the legs. Symptoms of the condition can vary depending on the severity of the disease and the area that is being affected. The most common symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency include itching, hyper-pigmentation of the legs, chronic swelling of the legs and ankles, local inflammation, thickening of the skin and an increased risk of ulcers and cellulitus.
When an individual suffers from chronic venous insufficiency, the condition may be treated with manual compression lymphatic massage therapy, skin lubrication, sequential compression pumps, ankle pumps, compression stockings, blood pressure medication and frequent periods of rest involving the elevation of the affected leg. Surgery may also be an option in severe cases.
Due to the limitations that the disease can place on an individual's ability to perform normal day-to-day tasks, it is not surprising that many of the individuals who suffer from this condition are unable to maintain full-time work activity. In these cases, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Chronic Venous Insufficiency
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does recognize chronic venous insufficiency as a qualifying disability under Medical Listing 4.11 of the SSA's published disability guidelines. It is important to understand, however, that a diagnosis of the disease is not enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits all by itself. Certain conditions must be met in order to qualify for benefits from the SSA.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of chronic venous insufficiency, the condition must affect a lower extremity with incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system. It must also result in extensive brawny edema involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and the knee or one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip. A case of chronic venous insufficiency with superficial varicosities, statis dermatitis and recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed with three months of treatment will also qualify an individual for disability benefits under these guidelines.
If your case of chronic venous insufficiency meets the guidelines that have been set forth by the SSA, chances are that your disability claim will be approved during the initial stage of the application process. If your case does not meet these guidelines, you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits but you will likely need to prove your case before an administrative law judge.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Your Social Security Disability Case
If your case of chronic venous insufficiency meets all of the criteria of Medical Listing 4.11 of the SSA's published guidelines, chances are that you will be awarded disability benefits during the initial stage of the disability application process. If, however, there is any question as to whether or not your condition meets these specific guidelines or prevents you from performing any type of substantial gainful activity, you should seek the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.
A disability attorney can increase your chances of overturning the SSA's decision to deny your disability claim. These professionals will understand what proof the SSA will need to see in order to approve your claim for disability benefits and will work with you to gather the necessary medical evidence.