Peripheral arterial disease is a serious illness that, if not taken care of properly, could lead to fatal consequences. It many cases, the symptoms of the condition can interfere with an individual's quality of life and their ability to perform daily activities. It is not surprising then, that those who suffer from peripheral arterial disease are oftentimes unable to maintain full-time work activity. This inability to work can lead to significant financial burdens. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with this circulatory condition, the following information will help you understand how peripheral arterial disease qualifies an individual for Social Security Disability benefits.
Peripheral Arterial Disease - Condition and Symptoms
When an individual suffers from peripheral arterial disease, plaque (which is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue and other substances) builds up in the arteries of the body. These arteries are responsible for carrying blood to your limbs, organs and head. When this plaque builds up, it eventually hardens and begins to narrow the passages of the arteries. This reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your head and other parts of your body. The reduction in the flow of oxygen-rich blood can result in a number of complications if left untreated. The affected area may experience tissue death that may result in amputation. Individuals who have peripheral arterial disease are also at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
The symptoms of peripheral arterial disease will vary depending on the location of the affected area and how severe the condition is. Some people will suffer no symptoms at all. Others may experience painful cramping of the affected limbs, leg numbness or weakness, sores on the feet or toes that do not heal, color changes in the legs, shiny skin, slower nail growth, lack of pulse or weakened pulse in the legs or feet and erectile dysfunction in men.
If an individual is suffering from severe peripheral arterial disease, the pain and discomfort caused by the condition can make it impossible to perform substantial gainful work activity. In these cases, it is best to apply for Social Security Disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Filing for Social Security Disability with Peripheral Arterial Disease
The SSA does recognize peripheral arterial disease as one of the qualifying medical conditions for Social Security Disability benefits under Section 4.12 of its Medical Listings. That does not mean, however, that a diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease in and of itself will be enough to qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to be approved for benefits from the SSA under this disability listing, certain conditions must be met.
According to Section 4.12 of the disability guidelines, a disability applicant can qualify for disability benefits due to peripheral arterial disease if they can provide the appropriate medical imaging to prove the severity of their condition. They must also prove that the disease is causing intermittent claudation and a resting ankle systolic blood pressure ratio of less than 0.50, a decrease in the systolic blood pressure at the ankle on exercise of 50 percent or more of the pre-exercise level (requiring more than 10 minutes to return to that level), a resting systolic pressure of less than 30 mmHg or a resting toe/brachial systolic blood pressure ratio of less than .040.
If your case of peripheral arterial disease meets these criteria and you have medical evidence proving this fact beyond a doubt, then chances are that your application for Social Security Disability benefits will be approved during the initial stage of the disability application process. If, however, your condition does not meet the specific guidelines or you do not furnish enough medical evidence to prove the extent of your disability, chances are that you will not be approved for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the claim process.
Peripheral Arterial Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case
If your case of peripheral arterial disease does not meet the specific criteria of the SSA but you are still unable to perform any type of work due to your condition, you should not give up on receiving the disability benefits you need. You will, however, have to pursue a disability appeal and will likely need to plead your case before an administrative law judge.
If you are filing for disability benefits, then it is in your best interest to consult with a disability lawyer. These professionals will understand how the laws pertain to your disability case and will work with you to gather the evidence that will be needed to prove your disability to the SSA. Statistically, your chances of receiving a favorable decision regarding your disability appeal are much higher with legal representation.