Am I Eligible for Disability Benefits for Chronic Heart Failure?

July 12, 2018
Dayes Law Firm

The heart is one of the most important organs in the body. If it begins to fail, your life is in danger and you may experience a serious loss of energy and be unable to exercise or perform other everyday tasks.

Fortunately, victims of heart failure may qualify for disability benefits. It is critical to contact a skilled Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer for help with the process. An attorney can manage every step of the process and fight for your best interests.

At Dayes Law Firm PC, we provide a free initial consultation to discuss your claim and determine if you might qualify for benefits.

Social Security Definition of Heart Failure

The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards disability benefits for heart failure if your condition satisfies two criteria, according to the SSA Blue Book. First, the condition must cause one of the following issues:

  • Systolic failure that causes the dimensions of the left ventricle to be greater than six centimeters or results in an ejection fraction that is measured at 30 percent or less when the patient is not experiencing a heart failure episode.
  • Diastolic failure that results in posterior wall of the left ventricle measuring two and a half centimeters in imaging tests. There must also be an enlarged left atrium of at least four and a half centimeters.

Your condition must also cause one of these medical issues:

  • Persistent heart failure symptoms that cause a severe limitation in your ability to sustain or complete daily living activities
  • Minimum of three episodes of congestive heart failure within one year; these episodes had to have required doctor intervention, which could include hospitalization for at least 12 hours
  • Inability to do a stress test at a workload of five metabolic equivalents or less because of one of the following:
    • Chest pain, fatigue, heart palpitations or dyspnea
    • Increasing frequency of ventricular ectopy that includes at least six premature ventricular contractions per minute
    • Three or more premature ventricular contractions in a row
    • Reduction by 10 millimeters or more in systolic pressure below baseline systolic pressure or the systolic pressure measured during exercise caused by dysfunction in the left ventricle
    • Mental confusion, poor coordination when walking or other signs of poor blood flow to the brain

The SSA requires you to provide extensive medical evidence proving you meet these criteria. The agent overseeing the investigation will review:

  • Your medical history
  • Statements from physicians who have treated you
  • Results from all exams, including tests from labs, imaging results such as x-rays, CT scans and MRIs or EEG tests

Other Ways to Qualify for Benefits

If you do not meet the SSA criteria for heart failure, you may still be able to obtain benefits if you are unable to do the work you used to do.

The SSA will look at several factors when evaluating your ability to do your old job or another type of work, including:

  • Age
  • Educational background
  • Past work experience with the same or other jobs
  • Transferrable job skills

The SSA will also complete an assessment of your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your RFC is an assessment of the most that you are physically and mentally capable of with all the medical symptoms you are experiencing.

Contact a Lawyer for Disability Assistance

Chronic heart failure is a severe condition that can cause debilitating symptoms. If you are unable to work with these symptoms, it is important to contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

A Social Security Disability lawyer may be to help you obtain disability benefits. He or she can guide you through each step of the process, including any appeals if your claim is denied.

We can evaluate your situation in a free, no obligation legal consultation and develop a legal strategy customized to your circumstances.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 1-800-503-2000.