Disabilities Relating to Cardiovascular Impairments

When a person has a medical problem affecting his heart or circulatory system, he may have work restrictions that prevent the ability to continue working. Depending on the severity of the heart condition, working may put a person at risk of suffering a heart attack or other life threatening cardiac event. In these situations, a person with cardiovascular impairments may qualify for short term disability benefits, long term disability benefits, and/or Social Security disability benefits.

Because a heart condition can be life threatening, it is crucial that a person with a cardiovascular problem seek immediate medical attention. When a patient presents with chest pain, palpitations, syncope, or other cardiovascular symptoms, it is common for physicians to order extensive testing. Testing for heart conditions may include echocardiograms (echo), electrocardiogram (ECG), exercise tests, drug-induced stress tests, Holter monitor tests, cardiac catheterization, cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scans, cardiac magnetic resonance imagings (MRI), chest x-rays, and blood tests.

Following the appropriate testing, treatment with a cardiologist is required to document the severity of the heart condition. If a person is required to undergo surgery, then she may have to see a surgeon specializing in heart operations. A cardiologist may only require a patient to follow-up on an annual basis, which means that it is important for the patient to also maintain treatment with her primary care provider and other doctors.

If a person undergoes a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or surgery, but then is able to return to normal functioning, then he might only be eligible for short term disability benefits. However, if a heart condition requires the person to miss at least three months of work, then he may be eligible for long term disability benefits. To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, the disability must last or be expected to last 12 months or longer.

The standards for long term disability and Social Security disability benefits are different. A long term disability insurance company will review the claimant’s medical records, statements from physicians, occupational requirements, and other relevant information. The insurance company will review all of the documentation it gathered and then determine whether the claimant meets all of the provisions found in the applicable long term disability policy. For more information on the requirements regularly found in long term disability policies, please review the following article: Understanding the Requirements of Your Long Term Disability Policy.

Unlike long term disability insurance companies, the Social Security Administration reviews disability claims while considering specific “Medical Listings.” The Social Security Administration has an entire category of Medical Listings for cardiovascular impairments. Cardiovascular Medical Listings include chronic heart failure (4.02), ischemic heart disease (4.04), recurrent arrhythmias (4.05), symptomatic congenital heart disease (4.06), heart transplant (4.09), aneurysm of aorta or major branches (4.10), chronic venous insufficiency (4.11), and peripheral arterial disease (4.12). If a claimant proves that she meets or equals one or more of the Medical Listings, then the Social Security Administration will approve her disability claim. Even if a claimant cannot prove she meets or equals one of the Medical Listings, she can still be found disabled if she is disabled from performing both past relevant work and substantial gainful activity. The eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits can be found in the following article: Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

If you have applied for disability benefits and your claim has been denied, contact O’Ryan Law Firm immediately for a free consultation. We represent individuals who have been denied for short term, long term, or Social Security disability benefits. You may call us toll-free at 1-855-778-5055 or submit information online so that we may contact you later: Contact O’Ryan Law Firm webpage.