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Heart Disease and Other Cardiovascular Disability Cases


    If you suffered a heart attack or have a heart condition or other cardiovascular problems, you may qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in one of two ways:


(1)  Your condition may be so bad that you meet or equal the level of severity that Social Security has listed for cardiovascular disease.


(2)  Your condition may not meet the listing but still be so bad that:

You cannot return to the easiest job you had during the 15 years before you became disabled because you cannot handle the stress or physical demands of that job, and


You cannot adjust to other work because of your age, education, past work experience, lack of transferable skills, and reduced physical condition.

    This second way of getting Social Security Disability for heart problems means that you qualify under the medical - vocational rules.  (This is sometimes called meeting the "grids" because a chart or grid is used to determine who qualifies for Social Security benefits under these rules.)


The Cardiovascular Listings

    There are several common cardiovascular listings.  Each listing usually requires (1) test results at certain levels and (2) reduced physical abilities due to the cardiovascular condition.  The listings are written in technical medical language, like the listings for the other body parts.  The listings generally require that your cardiovascular problems remain severe even while you are under medical care and following your doctor's instructions.

    The following is a very simplified discussion of the common Social Security Disability listings for heart conditions and other cardiovascular problems.


Listing 4.02  Chronic Heart Failure.  To qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing, x-rays or other imaging techniques or tests must show that you have an enlarged heart.  The listing also requires that your cardiac condition causes you to be unable to perform any physical activity and that you have such symptoms as persistent fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain (angina pectoris) even while at rest.  Chronic heart failure is sometimes also referred to as congestive heart failure.  A common medical test used to diagnose this heart condition measures left ventricular ejection fraction (the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart with each heartbeat).  An ejection fraction of 30% or lower is required to meet the listing.


Listing 4.03 Hypertensive Heart Disease.  To win Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing requires more than that you just have hypertension, which is a condition that affects millions of Americans.  To qualify under this listing, your hypertension must be so severe that you are in as bad a shape as if you met the listing for chronic heart failure or for ischemic heart disease.


Listing 4.04  Ischemic Heart Disease.  To qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing, you must have ischemia, a heart condition caused by reduced flow of oxygen to the heart usually as the result of coronary artery disease.  (Complete interruption of the oxygen flow will result in a myocardial infarction, the medical term for a heart attack, causing permanent damage to the heart tissue.)  You may meet this listing if your treadmill exercise stress test results are particularly poor.  You may also meet this listing if you have documented proof of impaired heart functioning along with marked limitation of physical activity due to fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain, even while at rest.  A third way you may meet this listing is by showing through angiography that you have coronary artery disease and that you also have marked limitation of physical activity due to fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pain, even while at rest.


Listing 4.05  Recurrent Arrhythmias.  To get Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing, you must pass out or almost pass out frequently because your heart beats too fast (tachycardia), too slow, or irregularly, and your medical treatment has failed to control this condition (called cardiac syncope).


Listing 4.11  Chronic Venous Insufficiency.  To qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI under this listing, your heart must be unable to adequately pump the blood from your legs back to your heart causing you to have extensive swelling in your legs or enlarged veins in your legs which break out into ulcers that do not heal for 3 months or longer.  People with this condition have difficulty standing or walking for any extended period of time and must elevate their legs when they sit.


    As mentioned above, if you do not meet the listings   and most persons with cardiac problems do not   you may still qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI due to your age, your education, the type of work you have done, and how much stress or activity you can tolerate because of your heart condition.  To learn more, read about the medical - vocational rules.


When You Need a Social Security Disability Lawyer,

Rely on Us for Skill, Determination and Experience.

Attorney John Serrano - Personal Injury, Social Security Disability, Divorce, Bankruptcy, Immigration, Workers Compensation.  Hartford, Waterbury

Please note that our law firm's website is designed to provide only general legal information.

This information is not intended to be legal advice for your individual situation.

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