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Disability for Heart Problems: Do You Qualify?

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  July 16, 2020   |  

Are you seeking disability for heart disease, or wondering if you can file a claim for Social Security disability for heart problems?

Our North Carolina disability attorneys are frequently contacted by prospective clients wondering if they qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because of their heart problems. As with most questions about disability benefits, the answer starts with, “it depends.” This article discusses the factors that are evaluated to determine whether you qualify for disability for heart problems.

The terms “heart disease” and “cardiovascular impairment” can cover a wide range of conditions, some far more debilitating than others.

“Can I get disability for heart problems?”

Disability for Heart Problems - Riddle & BrantleySome heart conditions can automatically qualify you for benefits if they are severe enough to meet one of the Agency’s “Listings” of severe impairments. Other heart diseases and conditions could qualify you for benefits even if they do not meet the stringent requirements for a Listing if they cause you to be so limited in the things you can do that you could not be expected to work at a 40-hour per week job, no matter how easy.

In other blog posts we’ve talked about the two alternative ways a person can meet the SSA’s requirements to show they are disabled by:

  1. meeting a “Listing,” or
  2. showing a significantly impaired Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”)

Whatever your particular type of heart problem, it is absolutely imperative that you have been seeing a doctor (preferably a cardiologist) and being tested, medicated, and treated for a significant period of time, at least 4-6 months.

Without a substantial set of medical records, test results, and medication prescriptions to back up your heart condition claim, it is unlikely that you can win your disability case based on heart disease.

Types of Heart Conditions That May Qualify You for Disability Benefits

Here are some the most common heart conditions that can form the basis for a successful Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) claim:

Coronary artery disease (“CAD”) is characterized by restricted blood flow to the heart. That restricted blood flow, in turn, damages the heart muscle and keeps it from working properly. In order to qualify for disability for this heart condition, you must prove you have this condition via cardiac tests, exercise stress tests, and other procedures. If you have CAD that is severe enough, you could meet a Listing, or you could have an RFC so limited that you cannot work. Either would entitle you to disability benefits, assuming you are otherwise eligible.

Congestive (or chronic) heart failure (“CHF”) is a condition in which blood does not move back to the heart through the veins properly, causing a backup or “congestion” of blood and fluid in various parts of the body. Often times sufferers have persistent swelling in the legs, feet and ankles. The internal organs can also be damaged by the inability of the circulatory system to work properly. CHF can also result in breathing problems, especially when lying down.

If you have been diagnosed with CHF by a cardiologist and your condition is severe enough, you could meet the Agency’s Listing for CHF. If your condition does not match up with all the specific requirements of that Listing, it can still result in an RFC that limits you so profoundly that no jobs could accommodate all of your limitations.

Arteriosclerosis (sometimes called “hardening of the arteries”) is the diagnosis used to describe a condition when the patient’s artery walls collect deposits that cause them to harden and, therefore, not work properly. If untreated and severe enough, it can lead to a heart attack, when the arteries stop allowing the necessary blood flow through them to the heart. This condition often occurs in diabetics because of the way diabetes affects the arteries. Here again, it could be found to meet a Listing, or it could restrict a person’s RFC so much that full-time work is not possible.

And finally, a cardiac aneurysm is a bulge in an artery around the heart resulting from a weakness in that blood vessel. When an aneurysm ruptures, the sufferer can bleed to death. If you are diagnosed with a cardiac aneurysm (and are fortunate enough to get an early diagnosis!), and if your cardiologist will certify that your condition is sufficiently fragile, it could be so limiting to prevent you from performing any full-time jobs on an ongoing basis.

So… can you get disability for heart conditions?

The short answer is yes, but it depends on many factors. The best thing to do is to contact a North Carolina disability lawyer for a free consultation and case review.

A disability attorney can listen to you, help determine your eligibility, and advise you on the best legal options for pursuing disability benefits for a heart condition.

Do you have a claim for disability?

If you are seeking disability for a heart problem or other disabling condition, our North Carolina disability attorneys are ready to help.

We serve clients throughout the state, including those in Raleigh, Fayetteville, Durham, Goldsboro, Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem, Greenville, Jacksonville and Charlotte.

NC Disability Attorneys - No Attorney Fees Unless You Get BenefitsFor a FREE consultation with a NC disability lawyer today, please call 1-800-525-7111 or complete the short form below.

There is no obligation and you only pay attorney fees if we win your claim or appeal and you receive the Social Security disability benefits you need and deserve.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your claim.

Our disability team is led by attorney Scott Scurfield, a Board-Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability. Scott has been recognized by the NC State Bar for his experience and expertise handling these types of cases and he and his team are ready to help however they can.

“There is nothing more satisfying than helping North Carolinians get the disability benefits they need and deserve.”

Scott Scurfield, Riddle & Brantley disability attorney and Board-Certified Specialist

For a FREE, no-obligation consultation with a Board-Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability, please call 1-800-525-7111.

We believe Justice Counts for North Carolinians with disabilities and we would love to help you seek disability benefits if we can.

Call 1-800-525-7111 today and let’s review your case.

Justice Counts.