Utah Heart Disease and Social Security Claims Attorney
What Social Security Is Looking For Regarding Heart Problems
Heart conditions that prevent individuals from working are covered under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits your condition must be medically verified by a doctor and corroborated with supporting documentation. While most people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits are initially denied, many qualify through the appeals process. At the Provo, Utah law office of E. Craig McAllister, I represent people with heart conditions who are interested in receiving Social Security Disability benefits. As an attorney dedicated solely to practicing Social Security law, I understand how to position your case and what to do if an appeal is necessary.
To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact Provo, Utah Social Security Disability benefits attorney E. Craig McAllister today.
Chronic Heart Failure
With regard to chronic heart failure, the Social Security Administration considers the presence of cardiomegaly (heart enlargement) or ventricular dysfunction shown by diagnostic imaging such as a chest x-ray, radionuclide studies, echocardiogram, or cardiac catheterization. Some of the things that show heart abnormalities, particularly left ventricular dysfunction and structural abnormality, are diagnostic images that show:
- Increased left ventricular end diastolic diameter (LVEDD) greater than 6.0 cm,
- Decreased ejection fraction (EF) of 30% or less,
- Increased left atrial chamber size,
- Increased ventricular filling pressures, or
- Increased left ventricular wall or septum sickness totaling 2.5 cm or greater with the left atrium enlarged to 4.5 cm or greater
Some other things that may show up on abnormal diagnostic images may include:
- Increased pulmonary vascular markings
- Pleural effusion
- Pulmonary edema
Some symptoms of limited cardiac output or heart congestion include:
- Easy fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort at rest or with activity
Symptoms may also include cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) resulting in:
Some signs of congestion may include:
- Ascites (fluid retention in the heart),
- Hepatomegaly (enlargement of the liver),
- Increased jugular vein distention or pressure,
- Peripheral edema (swelling in the arms or legs),
- Rales (abnormal noises), or
- Rapid weight gain
Once finding the above symptoms and signs, the Social Security Administration looks to see if the heart failure:
- Seriously limits the ability to independently initiate, sustain, and complete activities of daily living; or
- Results in three or more separate episodes of acute congestive heart failure within a consecutive 12-month period with evidence of fluid retention, requiring acute extended physician interventions, such as emergency room treatment, for 12 hours or more of hospitalization, separated by periods of stabilization; or
- Causes inability to perform an exercise-tolerance test.
Additional information is available on the Social Security Administration's website.
Ischemic Heart Disease
With regard to ischemic heart disease, Social Security is looking for discomfort of myocardial ischemic origin (angina pectoris/chest pain), which is discomfort caused by effort or emotion and promptly relieved by rest, sublingual nitroglycerin (that is, nitroglycerin tablets that are placed under the tongue), or other rapidly acting nitrates. Typically, the discomfort is located in the chest (usually below the sternum) and described as oppressive, aching, pressing, crushing, burning, or squeezing. Cramping, sticking, or sharp discomfort is less common.
Angina (pain caused by heart dysfunction) may also occur in the back, inner aspect of the left arm, upper abdomen, jaws, or neck, but could also be elsewhere. In addition, myocardial ischemia must be shown by diagnostic tests such as ECG/EKG or ETT.
In addition to the above symptoms caused by effort or emotion, angina may also occur at rest, especially at night. The cause of such is usually shown on an ECG/EKG. Myocardial ischemia, even myocardial infarction (heart attack), may also occur without any perception of pain or other symptoms and may only be shown on a perfusion scan, ECG/EKG, or other diagnostic imaging. For more information, consult the Social Security Administration's website.
With regard to recurrent arrhythmias (uneven heartbeats) Social Security looks to see if they result in cardiac syncope (fainting) or near syncope, despite prescribed treatment, and are documented by resting or ambulatory electrocardiography (ECG/EKG), such as a Holter monitor. More information can be found at the Social Security Administration's website.
In addition to the above disorders, Social Security also gives consideration to the following heart problems:
I am happy to answer questions and explain details associated with these conditions should you call to discuss your particular situation.
If you suffer from a heart problem that prevents you from working, contact Provo, Utah Social Security disability benefits attorney E. Craig McAllister today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.