February is Heart Health Month and it is a topic that warrants a significant amount of interest due to the severity of heart disease in our nation and its prevalence worldwide. Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death across the globe. In many cases, the people who suffer from a heart-related illness are unable to work due to the symptoms that are caused by the disease and/or the effects of the treatments and/or surgery that are required to address the illness.
Fortunately, heart disease is covered under the SSA’s Blue Book of qualifying disabling medical conditions under Section 4.0 of the SSA’s Blue Book. In order to qualify for disability benefits, your case of heart disease must meet the criteria of this medical listing and you must have sufficient objective medical evidence proving that your heart disease has resulted in a complete inability to perform substantial gainful work activity.
According to the SSA, a Social Security Disability applicant will qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration if their heart related health condition has resulted in chronic heart failure, ventricular dysfunction, a lack of oxygen or flow of blood to the heart or a frequent loss of consciousness due to insufficient blood flow to the brain. If your heart condition does not meet the criteria that has been set forth by the SSA but still prevents you from performing any type of work activity, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you are able to prove the severity of your heart condition through objective medical evidence.
Some of the objective medical evidence that can be used to prove a heart-related health condition to the Social Security Administration include EGC tests, exercise testing, CT scans, MRIs and other objective medical diagnostic procedures. If you can prove through these tests that your heart is damaged to the point that it cannot pump enough blood through your body or that there is some type of blockage in your cardiovascular system, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. In addition to diagnostic evidence, a written statement from your doctor detailing how your heart-related illness prevents you from working can help strengthen your case for Social Security Disability benefits.
It is important to note that while the initial application process for these benefits only takes three to six months to complete, the majority of claims are denied by the SSA during the initial stage of the disability claim process. As a result, many disability applicants find themselves appealing the SSA’s decision to deny their benefits, which is a process that can take two or more years to complete.
If you want to increase your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial application stage, you may want to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney prior to filing your disability claim. These professionals will understand how your heart-related illness qualifies you for disability benefits and what you will need to do in order to prove the extent of your disability in order to receive the benefits you need.