Is Low Ejection Fraction a Disability?
Ejection fraction is a measure of overall cardiovascular health. You can use the results of this measure to qualify for disability benefits in the U.S. If cardiovascular testing has revealed you have a low ejection fraction as a result of a heart condition, obtaining benefits under one of the two Social Security disability programs can help you maintain your financial independence while you focus on your recovery.
If you’re considering applying for disability due to a heart condition with a low ejection fraction, a disability lawyer who understands the Social Security disability system may be able to improve your odds of a successful claim.
About Ejection Fraction
Ejection fraction is a measurement of the amount of blood pumped out of each ventricle with every heartbeat. Ejection fraction is expressed as a percentage — for a healthy adult, normal ejection fraction values are between 50-75%. Lower values indicate a compromised ability of the heart to pump blood, which puts the affected individual at greater risk of heart failure.
Causes of low ejection fraction can include a previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease and cardiomyopathy. An individual suffering from low ejection fraction may experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue, all of which — depending on severity — can affect his or her ability to perform physical activities associated with many jobs.
Applying for Benefits
Applicants with a heart condition may apply for benefits under either the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Secured Income (SSI) program. Your work history largely determines to which you should apply.
If you’ve previously paid into Social Security through payroll taxes, you most likely qualify for SSDI. However, if you haven’t worked a sufficient number of hours or have not met the minimum contribution requirements for SSDI for any other reason, you can apply to SSI instead. SSI is a needs-based program — it’s available to anyone with a qualifying disability who doesn’t have the resources to support himself or herself.
Disability for Ejection Fraction
Low ejection fraction qualifies as a disability under the chronic heart failure Listings of impairments. To automatically qualify for benefits by meeting a Listing, you must demonstrate that your ejection fraction is less than 30% during a period of stability and your heart condition is preventing you from pursuing meaningful work.
If you don’t meet these criteria, however, it is still possible to prove that your condition qualifies you for benefits. To do this, you must undergo a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This assessment will consider your symptoms and limitations, as well as your age, education, skills and prior work experience to determine whether or not there is any work you can perform that won’t compromise your health.
Submitting a Claim
If you’re considering submitting a claim for either SSI or SSDI, a disability lawyer can be an essential ally. Although program rules clearly spell out the criteria required to qualify for ejection fraction disability, more than 65% of all applications are rejected upon their first submission.
Denied Disability for Low Injection Fraction?
If you have been diagnosed with low injection fraction, you may apply for Social Security benefits believing you qualify for them. If you are denied, there may be several reasons:
- There was a error in your application
- You did not provide adequate medical evidence of your low injection fraction, its severity, and how it affects your life, work, and daily activities
- You did not submit to or provide evidence of adequate testing, such as testing for low injection fraction, blood tests for electrolytes and other issues, imaging tests, physical tests, etc.
- The SSA concludes you can work at another task even with your disability
- You’re expected to fully recover within a year
Being denied for disability benefits can be difficult, especially if you rely on benefits to pay for your medical treatments and other costs. If you were denied, you can appeal the decision. Consider speaking to a disability attorney to ensure you provide the most robust evidence possible of your low injection fraction and its effect on your life.
If you were denied benefits you believe are rightfully yours, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation. Our team focuses exclusively on SSI, SSA, and workers’ compensation benefits. Our niche focus area ensures we have the network of professionals, as well as the case knowledge, needed for benefit applications and appeals. Your initial consultation with us is free of charge, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Proving Low Injection Fraction Disability Eligibility
To automatically qualify for SSA benefits for severe continuing heart failure, you must show medical records proving this diagnosis. In addition, the evidence must clearly show:
- You have had fluid retention at some point as a result of your heart failure.
- You have been hospitalized for the condition at least three times in the past year for at least 12 hours each time.
- You continue to have the condition at the same level of severity, despite medication and other treatment.
- You have either diastolic or systolic heart failure. For systolic failure, you must prove the end diastolic dimensions of your heart’s left ventricular are over 6 cm and/or your heart’s ejection fraction is no more than 30% when you are stable. For diastolic failure, you must prove your left atrium is at least 4.5 cm and your interventricular septum and left ventricular wall are at least 2.5 cm thick.
- You must show your low injection fraction affects your ability to perform tasks related to work. As part of this, you may be given an exercise test.
Many younger patients do not qualify for disability benefits for low injection fraction because the eligibility requirements are strict. If you have been diagnosed with low injection fraction but cannot prove all of the above, you may still qualify for benefits if you can prove your condition is severe enough to have affected your ability to work or perform everyday tasks. The SSA will determine whether you’re eligible for some benefits through a residual functional capacity (RFC), which will evaluate what kind of work you can do — whether sedentary, light, medium, or heavy.
Contact an Attorney to Fight for You!
The disability lawyers at the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco may be able to help you get benefits for your heart condition. If you’ve been rejected before, we may be able to mount an appeal to reverse that decision. If you are applying for the first time, we can ensure you have the documentation to increase your chances of success. Contact our law office today for your free consultation.