How Severe Must my Heart Disease Be to Qualify for Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA), which is responsible for approving disability benefits, has hundreds of medical conditions listed in its Blue Book which qualify for disability benefits, but applicants must remember their condition must be severe to qualify. If you are dealing with a medical condition like heart disease that has you out of work for twelve months, you may qualify as long as you can provide the medical evidence that proves your heart disease is severe.

Blue Book Listing

The symptoms of heart disease could be any or all of the following:

  • chest pain
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath
  • weakness or a cold feeling in your legs or arms
  • pain in the jaw, neck, throat, upper abdomen or back

Severe heart disease is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book in Section 4.02 as "chronic heart failure." To meet the listing and be eligible for a disability benefit, you must have suffered either diastolic or systolic heart failure and be continuously unable to perform activities of daily life, have 3 or more events of acute congestive heart failure over the course of a year, or fail the exercise tolerance test. Tests for diagnosing congestive heart failure could include the following:

  • resting or exercise electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG, or stress test)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
  • biopsy or catheterization of the heart and arteries
  • Computed Tomography (CT) scan
  • echocardiogram
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan

Applying for Disability Benefits With Congestive Heart Failure

Applying for a Disability Benefit

When applying for disability benefits for heart disease more than 2/3 of initial applications are denied. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • technical problems with an application
  • a disqualification based on medical information

However, you can increase your chances of eligibility for disability benefits by working with an attorney who may help you comprehend your status with regard to the medical requirements and designated conditions as set forth by the SSA.

The Potential Effects of a Disabling Medical Condition on You and Your Family

Dealing with a disability such as heart disease can be hard for you and your family in the following ways:

  • being in a constant state of financial struggle
  • feeling overly stressed out as a result of your disability and the potential financial hardship it may bring
  • being unable to perform supposedly simple everyday tasks without assistance
  • suffering psychologically and/or emotionally as a result of your illness
  • feeling unable to partake in the most, if not all, of the once-fun activities
  • not earning enough money for your family to grow and survive

Next Steps

Heart disease can have a serious impact on your life but you can help ensure you are eligible for a disability benefit by gathering together or the medical information including test results and ask a disability attorney to work on your behalf to get your disability benefits.

Help your case by filling out the free case evaluation today.

Additional Resources