Establishing a Social Security Disability Claim for Cardiovascular Disease

Coronary Artery Disease

Heart disease and cardiovascular problems are on the rise due to the number of aging Baby Boomers.

Heart disease and cardiovascular problems
are on the rise due to the number of aging Baby Boomers.

One of the leading causes of disability is cardiovascular disease. As the baby boomers age, these statistics will continue to rise. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is perhaps the most prevalent type of this illness. Establishing a Social Security disability claim for cardiovascular disease is possible with the right evidence.

CAD deprives the heart of the oxygen it needs to function adequately. Arteries are blocked to various degrees, and as the occlusion increases, the person’s stamina diminishes. Chest pain may be the first symptom that leads a person to seek medical help. Pain may radiate down the left arm or to the upper body. Evaluation of symptoms must be done on a case-by-case basis, and the person’s remaining functional ability must be carefully assessed and documented.

Medical records must include chest X-rays, an electrocardiogram and an angiogram showing sufficient blockage of the artery to meet the standards set out by the Social Security Administration in its regulations. Although miracles happen with surgical alternatives that are available, there are still disabling effects in many cases.

Even though a disability may not exactly meet the criteria in the Listing of Impairments, the case can still be won by developing evidence on the physical and mental limitations that exist. Motor skills and memory may be impacted.

It is important to get statements about your fatigue level, need to rest, general stamina, and capacity to lift, stand and walk. Sometimes a medical record will give the impression that the person can exercise fairly intensively. What may not be clear is that the patient may need to rest for a substantial period of time after such activity.

Often in such cases, depression is a major element. People with significant Coronary Artery Disease or who have had surgery are often paralyzed with fear, which can lead to depression. In some cases the depression becomes a greater disability than the underlying disease. Up to 40% of post-surgery patients experience such depressions, and this condition may be poorly documented. Age, education and the exertional level of prior work are also factors in deciding these types of cases.

Please contact us for a legal evaluation under Social Security law if you are applying for disability.

Further Resources:

American Heart Association – National organization emphasizing healthy choices for people suffering from heart disease. This link takes you to the section on Coronary Artery Disease.

CDC Heart Disease – Lists signs and symptoms of heart problems and provides educational materials.

Disability Evaluation Under Social Security – Information from the SSA site on the requirements for claiming heart disease as a disability. 

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