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SSDI and Cardiovascular Diseases

Home  /  Medical Conditions – Eligibility for SSDI Benefits  /  SSDI and Cardiovascular Diseases

Cardiovascular Diseases


Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States suffers from a condition related to the heart or circulatory system. In fact, in a list of diseases that cause significant disabilities can be easily preventable. Stroke, for example,  is ranked as the number one underlying disease that can potentially cause death. If you have one of the many possible cardiovascular diseases, you may become disabled and unable to work.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) will provide financial assistance to any cardiovascular impairment you may be suffering from if you meet their terms of eligibility and can demonstrate that you are unable to work because of your condition for at least 12 months.


What Criteria Does the Social Security Administration (SSA) Use to Evaluate a Cardiovascular Condition?


When the SSA reviews your medical records to see if you qualify for benefits, they will consider whether you meet a listing exactly or similar to those under Section 4.00 of their Blue Book. This is the section on cardiovascular impairments. The SSA will also take a look at your symptoms, signs, laboratory diagnostics, response to treatments you have received, and your functional limitations.


In addition to meeting the SSA definition of disability, there are certain non-medical conditions you must meet for SSDI eligibility.


What Kind of Documentation Is Required?


The SSA requires you to provide detailed data regarding the history of your cardiovascular condition. This includes physical examinations, pathological diagnostics, information about the nature, and severity of your disease. It should also provide information regarding any physical or mental limitations you may have and whether these have become worse, better or remained unchanged over time. These records will help the SSA determine the expected duration of your condition and the severity of your cardiovascular impairment. Medical records must be recent covering the last 90 days of observation and treatment. These may include:

  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Blood Tests
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Coronary Angiography and Cardiac Catheterization
  • Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT)


In many cases, the SSA will wait before they make a determination on a case in order to observe responses to treatments that  are being received. Since the treatment may improve your condition, the SSA may review recent medical records after a 3-month wait. The SSA, however,  will not wait to make a determination if they find sufficient and relevant data that demonstrates your condition will not improve for at least one year.


What Happens When Your Heart Condition Does Not Meet a Blue Book Listing?


If your condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, the SSA will determine whether your cardiovascular impairment medically equals the severity of a listed impairment. They may also base their determination on your Residual Functional Capacity factoring in your age, education, and work experience in the decision process.  In such cases, SSDI benefits are approved through a medical vocational allowance only if your disability prevents you from going back to work, or working at any other job.


What Kind of Heart Conditions Qualify for SSDI Benefits?


Here are some of the diseases related to cardiovascular health for which you may receive benefits but remember, in order to receive benefits you need not meet an impairment listed in the Blue Book. The impairments listed in the Blue Book are not exhaustive and the list is being continually updated. The SSA will consider if your medical condition is equivalent to a condition in the Blue Book.


Chronic Heart Failure (CHF): This is the inability of the heart to pump oxygenated blood to the tissues and organs of the body. The two main types of CHF are: predominant systolic dysfunction and predominant diastolic dysfunction.


Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD): This occurs when there is a narrowing of your coronary arteries or they are obstructed and therefore, restricting normal blood flow to the heart muscle. Reduced blood supply to the heart muscle can also result in the death of this muscle leading to a heart attack.


Arrhythmias: These are changes in the regular beats of the heart. The heart may beat irregularly. When the heart beats more quickly it is called tachycardia and if the beats are very slow it is called bradycardia. There are many different types of arrhythmias depending on which area of the heart they arise and how they disturb the rhythm of the heart.


Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): This is any disease that is related to the veins or arteries such as: peripheral arterial disease or chronic venous insufficiency.


Hypertension:  This is another name for high blood pressure. Apart from the heart, hypertension affects other body systems such as the kidneys, brain, and eyes leading to disabilities that stem from impairments to those organs. Functional limitations due to hypertension will be assessed by an RFC.


Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease: This is an abnormal function of the heart or the valves of the heart right from birth.


Cardiomyopathy: This is a disease of the heart  The two major types of cardiomyopathy are: ischemic and non-ischemic cardiomyopathy.


Valvular heart disease: This is any disease that involves one or more of the four heart valves. The SSA will evaluate any impairment by considering its effects on your RFC.


Hyperlipidemia: This is the elevated levels of any of the lipids in the blood particularly referring to low density lipids (LDL) and triglycerides, high elevations of which, can lead to coronary artery disease.


Is there a faster way to process SSDI benefits?


If your condition is so severe that it clearly meets the definition of disability as described by the SSA, the SSA will take the initiative to expedite the process and start your benefits as quickly as possible under the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program. There is no special application for CAL. You will need to submit the standard SSDI forms and the SSA will identify severe cases that obviously meet their criteria for benefits.


Apply for SSDI Benefits Today


If you are disabled and cannot work for at least 12 months because of a cardiovascular impairment, find out if you qualify for SSDI benefits. Fill out our free disability evaluation form today.


Diseases of the circulatory system form 7.5% of the total SSDI benefits distribution. The medical information you provide will be used to determine whether you qualify for SSDI benefits. It is important that your records or the testimony of your treatment physician show the extent to which your condition limits your physical and mental capabilities. An advocate from Disability United can help you through the process and increase your chances of getting your SSDI claim approved.


We can help you get the benefits you deserve. Start by filling out our form as well as receiving a free disability evaluation.