Is Congestive Heart Failure a Disability?
If you suffer from congestive heart failure, your focus should be on getting healthy — not on paying the bills. Many people do not realize that congestive heart failure disability benefits are available under either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If congestive heart failure has limited your mobility, caused you recurrent hospitalizations, or forced you to stop working, having income to fall back on such as Social Security disability benefits can improve your quality of life and give you the freedom to concentrate on your recovery instead of worrying about making ends meet.
About Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is a form of heart disease that affects 5.1 million people in the United States. Congestive failure occurs when the muscles of the heart have weakened to the point where they can no longer pump through the aorta. There are two forms of congestive heart failure, which often overlap with each other: systolic failure occurs when the heart is unable to supply the rest of the body with enough blood; diastolic failure, on the other hand, is when the heart cannot accept all the blood that is being sent into it. In both cases, symptoms of heart failure can include breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, fatigue and more.
Congestive Heart Failure Disability
In order to qualify for disability due to congestive heart failure, you must be able to demonstrate that your condition:
- is chronic — this can be done through medical documentation of a poor ejection fraction or imaging scan that is consistent with either a systolic or diastolic failure, and
- has caused you considerable functional limitations — this may be demonstrated through an exercise stress test or, if testing is not possible, shown by a history of repeated hospitalizations due to heart failure or fluid retention.
Whether you apply under the SSD program, your eligibility will first be determined by the number of years you have worked and the amount you have paid into Social Security. To begin your application, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco, a disability lawyer with over nine years of experience handling SSI and SSD claims. Ritacco and her team can go over your work history and your medical records to determine the best way to move forward with your claim.
If Your Claim Is Rejected
Up to 65% of SSD and SSI disability claims are rejected in their first application. Upon rejection, you will have 60 days to initiate the appeal process — starting early will give your lawyer sufficient time to obtain medical records and other documentation that will increase your chance of a successful appeal.
If you’ve been informed that your application for disability has been denied, or you’re wondering if your congestive heart failure qualifies for disability, contact Lisa M. Ritacco immediately. Don’t let congestive heart failure control your life any longer — you can get the support you need for a speedy recovery!
Have You Been Denied Disability for Congestive Heart Failure?
Being diagnosed with congestive heart failure is frightening, and you may think because you have a life-threatening illness, you will be able to secure disability benefits. Unfortunately, people do get denied disability for congestive heart failure. In many cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider younger people with congestive heart failure capable of doing sedentary or light work, limiting or eliminating qualifications for disability. Even older people may be denied disability for congestive heart failure, depending on their work history and qualifications.
If you have been denied disability but believe your congestive heart failure makes you qualified for benefits, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco. Speaking with an attorney can be important in this situation, since an attorney specializing in disability benefits — such as the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco — understands what you need to do to prove your disability and to improve your chances for getting the benefits you may deserve. The law office of Lisa M. Ritacco offers no obligation consultations and specializes exclusively in disability and workers’ compensation cases.
Remember: A denial of disability does not have to be the end of your road to benefits. You may have the option of appealing and seeking benefits you may qualify for. Consult with a disability attorney to review all your options as quickly as possible, since you only have a limited amount of time to reply to a denial.
Proving Congestive Heart Failure Disability Eligibility
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine your qualifications for disability benefits for chronic heart failure by considering certain medical criteria. To automatically qualify for SSDI benefits for congestive heart failure, your medical evidence must show:
- diagnosis of severe and ongoing heart failure, even though you are on medication
- medical evidence documenting fluid retention at on at least one occasion
- ongoing symptoms of heart failure that affect your ability to function
Proper evaluation of your heart condition is important since you will need to prove you have the symptoms of heart failure. If you have systolic failure, you must have records to show an ejection fraction for the heart of no more than 30% during a period when your condition is stable. Or, you may be able to prove your condition by providing medical evidence that the diastolic dimensions of your heart’s left ventricular end are over 6 cm.
If you have diastolic failure, you must be able to prove your interventricular septum and left ventricular wall are at least 2.5 cm thick. This can be done through testing such as medical imaging. You must also be able to show that even when your condition is stable, you have an elevated ejection fraction and a left atrium enlarged to at least 4.5 cm.
In addition to these, you must be able to show no more than a 5 MET on an ETT (exercise tolerance test) or symptoms that limit daily activities and that make an ETT too dangerous. You may also be required to show at least three instances of fluid retentions and heart failure over the past year, mandating a hospital or emergency department stay.
If you do not meet these very specific medical requirements, do not give up on a disability claim. Your claim may still be approved by showing that your residual functional capacity (RFC) (remaining ability to work) is significantly impaired your heart failure.
If you’ve been denied disability benefits when you’re suffering from congestive heart failure, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco today.