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I Have a Heart Condition. Do I Qualify for Disability Benefits?


In the United States, February is all about the heart. Not only do we celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, but we also raise awareness about heart disease during February as part of American Heart Month. In addition, today is National Wear Red Day, a day set aside to raise awareness about women’s heart health.

If you have a heart condition, February is the perfect month to learn more about how Social Security handles heart disease. Can you qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you suffer from a heart condition?

How Social Security’s Listing of Impairments Works


While not exhaustive, Social Security’s listing of impairments includes certain conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) already considers disabling enough to qualify for benefits. Each condition includes more information regarding specific symptoms the applicant must show in order to meet the listed impairment.

That means, for example, that it’s not enough simply to tell Social Security you have asthma and expect to get approved for disability benefits because asthma is in the listing of impairments. Instead, you would have to meet the specific criteria for asthma included in the listing of impairments, such as “exacerbations or complications requiring three hospitalizations within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart.” If you have asthma but you haven’t been hospitalized in a year, you’ll have trouble arguing that you meet the requirements already in the listing of impairments.

That’s not to say that your disability has to match what’s already in the listing of impairments exactly. As said earlier, the listing of impairments isn’t exhaustive. You can still get approved for benefits even if your specific disabling condition isn’t listed.

Common Heart Conditions Already Included in the Listing of Impairments


Within the Cardiovascular System section of the listing of impairments, Social Security recognizes the following conditions as potentially disabling:

  • 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

Within the section, the SSA explains their definition for cardiovascular impairment: “Any disorder that affects the proper function of the heart or the circulatory system (that is, arteries, veins, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage). The disorder can be congenital or acquired.” The SSA evaluates “symptoms, signs, laboratory findings, response to a regimen of prescribed treatment, and functional limitations” when considering whether a cardiovascular impairment meets their requirements.

How the Severity of Your Condition Affects Your Application


One of the most important parts of your application is being able to prove how severe your disabling condition is. If we look at our previous example of asthma, you can see that it’s not enough to have been diagnosed with the condition. Instead, it must be severe enough to have landed the patient in the hospital multiple times.

Heart conditions are typically serious to begin with. However, you’re still going to have to prove how severe your condition is, specifically. You’ll have to show the ways in which your heart condition prevents you from working. You’ll need to prove that medical treatment either isn’t alleviating your symptoms at all or isn’t alleviating them enough to allow you to return to work.

That’s one reason why seeking medical treatment and documenting that treatment is so important to your application. Social Security isn’t likely to take your personal diary detailing your symptoms seriously, for example, unless it’s coupled with official medical records that match your story. Only a medical professional can accurately assess the severity of your disability.

Help from an Indiana Social Security Disability Attorney

If you have a heart condition and are considering applying for disability benefits, an Indiana disability attorney can help. Call Hensley Legal Group today or contact us online for a free consultation.