Heart disease is a problem that many people suffer from. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that slightly over 30 million Americans received a heart disease diagnosis in 2018. In some cases, cardiovascular disease can make it difficult or even impossible to earn a living.
The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits for a variety of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. Here is a look at how Social Security evaluates cardiovascular diseases for SSD.
Defining cardiovascular impairment
According to the Social Security Bluebook, cardiovascular impairment refers to any disorder impairing the proper functioning of the heart or circulatory system. This includes diseases originating from birth or acquired at a later date. These conditions impact the ability of the heart to pump blood or the flow of blood throughout the body.
The causes of cardiovascular impairment
Cardiovascular issues stem from one or more of four problems caused by heart disease. A patient can suffer chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction, discomfort or pain from insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle, fainting or near fainting due to inadequate blood flow to the brain, or insufficient oxygen in the blood due to right-to-left shunts or lung disorders.
Additionally, disorders of the veins or arteries in the limbs can qualify as cardiovascular impairment. However, blood vessel problems must significantly limit physical actions and functions.
Common qualifying cardiovascular diseases
A variety of cardiovascular disorders can make someone eligible for SSD. They include chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathy, valvular heart disease and peripheral vascular disease. Social Security also evaluates obesity and other disorders if they affect cardiovascular functioning.
To determine SSD eligibility, Social Security reviews your medical evidence, including physical exam findings, imaging studies and laboratory tests. If your impairment does not meet the criteria of a listing, Social Security considers whether the ailment medically equals the severity of a listing or impacts your working capacity.
Social Security has detailed criteria to qualify cardiovascular disorders as a disability. While each case is unique, there are general standards that cover a broad sweep of heart and blood problems.