Heart disease is a general term that includes many different conditions. As most Missourians realize, chronic heart disease can interfere with many functions, including a person’s ability to work. In this post, we will summarize the Social Security regulations that govern Social Security Disability claims for different kinds of heart disease.
Heart disease includes coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems, and heart defects that interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood through the arteries and veins. The Social Security Administration uses the term “cardiovascular impairment” as its catch-all term for these diseases and impairments. A person seeking disability benefits for a cardiovascular impairment must first provide a statement from a qualified medical consultant that the impairment is both persistent and recurrent. A persistent condition is one that has been present or is expected to be present for a continuous period of 12 months or more. A recurrent condition is one that appears at least three times during the 12-month period. The SSA relies heavily on tests that measure heart function, such as electrocardiograms (ECG) and stress tests.
Generally, the SSA asks for “longitudinal” clinical studies that measure heart performance over at least three months. The SSA generally considers the patient’s history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed treatment and response that indicates the severity and duration of the cardiovascular impairment. The SSA has adopted regulations for determining disability based upon each of the various kinds of cardiovascular impairment. Many of these requirements use complex medical terminology that can only be interpreted by a qualified medical professional.
The complexity of the regulations that apply to heart disease makes a lawyer’s services particularly helpful. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate medical and employment records and provide an evaluation of the likelihood an application for disability benefits will be approved.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, 4.00 Cardiovascular System – Adult,” accessed on Oct. 2, 2016