Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program aimed at offering financial assistance to individuals who have become disabled as a result of a severe health condition.
Overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the SSDI program has strict requirements that must be met by applicants who hope to be approved for disability benefits.
To help standardize the way in which SSDI benefits are doled out, the SSA created the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security publication.
More commonly known as the “Blue Book,” this important online resource is used to determine if a specific health condition is severe enough to warrant disability payments. For individuals with atrial fibrillation, the Blue Book is an essential component of the disability application process.
How the Blue Book Can Help You Medically Qualify for Disability with Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is a relatively common cardiac condition that causes the upper chambers of heart to beat irregularly. While many cases of atrial fibrillation resolve when the root cause of the illness is addressed, some people are permanently disabled by A-fib.
Those affected by atrial fibrillation will want to turn to the recurrent arrhythmia section of the Blue Book, 4.05, to determine what symptoms need to be present to be considered a disability candidate.
First and foremost, the Blue Book states that only those cardiac arrhythmias that are not related to reversible causes, such as electrolyte imbalances or medications, will be considered for disability benefits.
Further, an individual’s A-fib must be uncontrolled and recurrent such that it results in fainting or near fainting, despite medical treatment. The fainting episodes must correlate with the documented arrhythmia as displayed by a Holter monitor or EKG. In other words, an individual’s A-fib must be confirmed as the cause of the fainting.
As with all disability claims, a claimant’s atrial fibrillation must have lasted, or be expected to continue, for at least one year.
What Evidence Do I Need to Win My Atrial Fibrillation Claim?
Significant medical evidence must support all disability claims filed with the SSA, and this is true for those with atrial fibrillation. A disability application for A-fib must include a detailed history and physical, including a longitudinal clinical record that covers at least three months of observations and treatment.
As cardiac arrhythmias can come and go, the SSA will want to establish the severity and complexity of your illness over time. They will want to see if your atrial fibrillation persists or how it responds to prescribed treatments.
Your medical record should include ongoing EKG or Holter monitor readings demonstrating your heart rhythm, as well as other relevant cardiac testing, such as echocardiograms or stress tests. All medical treatments, such as medications, should be documented.
Further, if you have undergone a cardioversion, cardiac ablation, or have had a pacemaker inserted, all procedural or operative notes should be included in the record.
Can A Lawyer Help Me Win My Claim for Atrial Fibrillation?
Often it is thought that a serious cardiac condition such as atrial fibrillation guarantees that an individual will receive disability benefits.
Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. Only those suffering from ongoing arrhythmias that cannot be controlled or treated will be considered for disability benefits.
There is significant room for interpretation when it comes to describing the severity of one’s cardiac condition. Therefore, one of the best decisions you can make is to secure the assistance of an experienced Social Security lawyer or disability advocate. SSDI cases are won and lost on the right medical documentation.
A qualified disability lawyer can help determine what medical evidence you have on hand, as well as what additional information is still needed to solidify your atrial fibrillation claim.