When it comes to obtaining Social Security Disability benefits, individuals must have a qualifying disability, illness, or condition. The Social Security Administration identifies several heart conditions under the cardiovascular system category that may allow those suffering from the specified diseases to qualify for benefits; however, an individual’s health condition is evaluated both in regards to the severity of the illness and the ability for that individual to work. This process can be extremely complex and confusing. The Philadelphia Social Security Disability attorneys at Silver & Silver are well-versed in Disability law and offer our assistance to those who are overwhelmed with the process or have been denied benefits. We are an experienced and qualified legal team that is committed to helping victims suffering from cardiovascular disorders in obtaining the Social Security Disability benefits to which they are entitled.
Social Security Benefits for Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Hundreds of thousands of Americans die each year, with many more suffering from the debilitating affects of heart disease. There are a number of different disorders that affect the heart that may entitle sufferers to obtain Social Security Disability benefits including ischemic heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, arrhythmia’s and heart failure.
In many cardiovascular diseases, there is an imbalance between the oxygen supply and demand that can result in cardiac ischemia, which essentially means reduced blood supply. The symptoms of this condition may be shortness of breath during activity or even at rest, a persistent cough or wheezing, excess fluid in the body or edema. The symptoms ofcardiovascular diseases can also include an increased heart rate (“heart racing” sensation), lack of appetite, mental confusion or disorientation, and fatigue that can make everyday activities difficult to perform such as climbing up stairs and walking. Cardiac ischemia can ultimately lead to a heart attack. In many of these instances, the victims suffering from these diseases and symptoms may not be physically able to perform the duties of their jobs. A viable option for them would be to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
Criteria to Meet the Ischemic Heart Disease Listing
Individuals with cardiac ischemia heart disease often qualify for Social Security Disability when the severity of the illness meets certain criteria. This includes the presence of symptoms, such as angina or chest pain, despite receiving a prescribed treatment regimen by a physician, along with at least one more of the following:
1. Specific documented findings demonstrated on an exercise stress test such as specific changes on the patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG) or changes in blood pressure while exercising or documentation of cardiac ischemia that is shown on other imaging studies including a perfusion scan and stress echo-cardiogram.
2. Documented findings of blockages or narrowing of the coronary arteries on an imaging study. The patient must manifest a certain percentage of narrowing in particular arteries that interferes with the patient’s ability to start, maintain, or finish activities of daily living.
3. Three episodes of ischemia in a twelve-month period that each required revascularization such as angioplasty or bypass surgery or documentation that these interventions were performed but did not elicit the desired effect on improving the patient’s status.
It is extremely important to understand that just because an individual does not meet all of the requirements stated above, it does not mean that he or she can’t qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. Rather, additional investigations may be needed to show clear medical evidence of the disability. The Social Security Administration will need to determine if your heart condition has decreased your functional capacity to work. An experiencedDisability attorney, such as the lawyers of Silver & Silver, can help you provide the document necessary to prove your disability.
Social Security Administration Relies Heavily on Exercise Tolerance Test Results
In regards to determining the severity of coronary artery disease and even heart failure, the Social Security Administration relies heavily on the results of exercise testing, specifically an exercise tolerance test. This is their choice diagnostic test for ischemic heart disease. During an exercise tolerance test, an individual is placed on either a treadmill or stationary bike and instructed to exercise. Over time, the speed, resistance, and elevation are adjusted. Throughout the procedure, the patient’s heart is continuously monitored via an electrocardiogram or EKG. The patient is also instructed to report a variety of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.
Sometimes, there can be limitations to this test that the Social Security Administration has acknowledged. For instance, an exercise tolerance test may not fully show an individual’s ability to perform specific activities involved in their line of work or the stamina to perform those duties for an entire day. In addition, there are medications that can affect the results of the test. Therefore, it is extremely important that the test results be used in conjunction with all of the other medical evidence. If you have had an exercise tolerance test that was interpreted as negative for ischemic heart disease, do not be discouraged. You may still be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits when a detailed investigation is performed.
Some patients that are seeking Disability benefits might not have documented results from an exercise test. Occasionally, the Social Security Administration may believe that an exercise test is warranted and will purchase the test. This can only be done after the agency reviews a patient’s medical records and consults with the treating physician to learn why it had not already been done or why it should not be done. Often times, a treating physician will not have ordered the test for his or her patient if there was a substantial health risk to the patient or if there were any other medical reasons or risks to not perform the test. The agency reviews all the data and then makes their decision on whether to proceed with the test.
Silver & Silver Disability Lawyers in Philadelphia: Committed to helping Individuals with Cardiovascular Disease
At Silver & Silver, our Philadelphia Disability lawyers are experienced in handling all types of cases that involve Social Security benefit issues including denials and appeals. We have established a proven track record of securing Disability benefits for our clients suffering from cardiac disorders as well as an array of other diseases and illnesses for more than 30 years. We are dedicated to helping people who have the misfortune of being ill and incapable of performing the duties associated with their professions.
If you are filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits or if you have had your claim denied, we encourage you to call one of the Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers at Silver & Silver. We will review the details of your case, providing you with superior legal representation, keeping you well-informed through every step of the process. We will fight to maximize your chances for a favorable outcome. We serve clients throughout the Philadelphia area, including Bucks County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County and Berks County, as well as the South Jersey communities ofBurlington, Camden, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel and Voorhees. We offer free and confidential consultations. Call us today at 1-800-947-4583 (800-94-SILVER) to speak with one of our Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers or contact us online.