Heart conditions and other forms of cardiovascular disease can make it impossible for a person to continue working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows people with cardiovascular disease to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, but the application process can be difficult to navigate on your own.
Cardiovascular Impairments That Qualify for SSDI Benefits
Just over 10% of all SSDI applications are for cardiovascular conditions. To receive SSDI payments, your condition must be expected to last more than 12 months or result in your death. You must also be experiencing symptoms that prevent you from continuing in the type of work you did before your illness or adjusting to other types of work that accommodate your skills and education.
In the Social Security Disability Blue Book, also referred to as the Listing of Impairments, heart conditions are listed in section 4.00 Cardiovascular System – Adult. A cardiovascular impairment is defined as any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system (arteries, veins, capillaries, and lymphatic drainage). The disorder can be either congenital or acquired.
The Blue Book contains listings for:
- Chronic heart failure
- Ischemic heart disease
- Recurrent arrhythmias
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease
- Heart transplant
- Aneurysm of aorta or major branches
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Peripheral arterial disease
Due to space limitations, the Blue Book only contains listings for the most common conditions eligible for SSDI benefits. If your specific impairment isn’t listed, you will need to provide evidence that your condition meets or exceeds the limitations in a Blue Book listing for another form of cardiovascular disease. Detailed medical evidence, including copies of diagnostic tests and opinions from specialists you’ve seen for treatment, will prove invaluable in supporting your claim for benefits. You will also need a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment that describes the different ways in which your symptoms prevent you from working, such as being unable to stand for more than one hour at a time due to fatigue and swelling associated with your cardiovascular impairment.
Please note that having a pacemaker doesn’t necessarily mean you will be found disabled. While someone with a pacemaker is unable to handle jobs requiring heavy lifting or exposure to electromagnetic radiation, they may still be considered able to perform sedentary or light duty work if they have the skills or education necessary to qualify for such positions.
Your Age and Receiving Benefits
A person’s risk of developing heart problems increases with age, so it’s not surprising that many applicants for SSDI for cardiovascular conditions are older adults. If you are age 50 to 54, you are considered to be approaching advanced age and will have your application rated more favorably due to the difficulty of training for or adapting to a new position as an older worker. If you are 55 or older, you will be considered a person of advanced age and have the most favorable evaluation. However, once you are eligible for full retirement benefits, you’ll receive regular Social Security payments instead of your SSDI benefits.
Why You Need an Attorney
You are not required to hire an attorney to apply for SSDI benefits, but there are many ways an experienced attorney can help with your disability claim. For example, your attorney can ensure there is sufficient medical evidence of your disabling condition, fill out any necessary paperwork on your behalf, and represent you at your appeal if necessary.
It’s a common misconception that individuals who are unable to work due to disability can’t afford legal assistance. There is no upfront cost associated with hiring a Social Security disability lawyer. Your attorney will be paid from your back pay when you are approved for benefits based on a fee schedule that is strictly regulated by the SSA.
Do You Need Help Accessing Social Security Disability Benefits?
At Alperin Law, we believe working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney is the best way to increase your chances of being approved for SSDI benefits for cardiovascular disease. Contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office directly to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.