cardiac impairments

Can I get disability for my heart condition? Part 2

Heart conditions can be serious and can make it difficult or even impossible to work, thus qualifying you for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security uses a 5 step process to determine eligibility which is featured in the first post of this series.

The listings for heart conditions include the following:

  • Chronic heart failure
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Recurrent arrhythmias
  • Symptomatic congenital heart disease
  • Heart transplant
  • Aneurysm of aorta or major branches
  • Chronic venous insufficiency, and
  • Peripheral arterial disease.  

Included in the category of cardiovascular impairment is any disorder that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system.  The disorder can be congenital or acquired.  You’ll find detailed explanations for the first two disorders in our post Cardiac Impairments part 1.

Recurrent Arrhythmias

In order to meet the listing for recurrent arrhythmias they must not be related to reversible causes, such as electrolyte abnormalities or digitalis glycoside or antiarrhythmic drug toxicity.  They must be resulting in uncontrolled, recurrent episodes of cardiac syncope or near syncope, despite prescribed treatment, and documented by resting or ambulatory (Holter) electrocardiography, or by other appropriate medically acceptable testing, coincident with the occurrence of syncope or near syncope

Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease

To meet the listing for symptomatic congenital heart disease (cyanotic or acyanotic), it must be documented by appropriate medically acceptable imaging or cardiac catheterization, with one of the following. Cyanosis at rest, and hematocrit of 55 percent or greater; or arterial O2 saturation of less than 90 percent in room air, or resting arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less. Or, it must be intermittent right-to-left shunting resulting in cyanosis on exertion (e.g., Eisenmenger’s physiology) and with arterial PO2 of 60 Torr or less at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less. Or you must show secondary pulmonary vascular obstructive disease with pulmonary arterial systolic pressure elevated to at least 70 percent of the systemic arterial systolic pressure.

Heart Transplant Patients

If you have had a heart transplant, then Social Security will consider you under a disability for 1 year following surgery; but after that, they will evaluate residual impairment under the other listings if they are applicable to you.

Aneurysm of Aorta or Major Branches

If you have suffered an aneurysm of aorta or major branches, due to any cause (e.g., atherosclerosis, cystic medial necrosis, Marfan syndrome, trauma), you must demonstrate your impairment, or the medical event, by appropriate medically acceptable imaging, with dissection not controlled by prescribed treatment.  

It’s easy to understand that Social Security is very specific and demanding in the medical tests and records required to meet a listing.  It is quite common to be denied benefits at the initial stages even with a severe disorder.

The Social Security Disability Lawyers at Match and Farnsworth, P.C., have experience in navigating the complex process of applying for benefits, and they are experienced in obtaining, explaining, and submitting medical records with easy to understand advocacy that helps the examiners at Social Security realize the severity of your condition and grant your claim sooner.


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