You weren’t surprised when your doctor confirmed that you were suffering from a heart condition. It all made sense—the dizzy spells, the shortness of breath, and the loss of strength that would eventually lead to your discharge from service. But you were surprised to hear that you could be eligible for VA disability for your suffering. After all, the military can’t be responsible for something you were born with, can it?

Meeting the Heart Disease Requirements for Veteran’s Disability

In order to claim disability for a heart condition, you do not have to prove that your condition was caused by a service-related incident. You only have to be able to show sufficient evidence that your heart disease first became symptomatic while you were in active service.

In order the get VA disability, your doctor must perform one of the following procedures to diagnose your heart condition:

  • Episodes of disability. If you are suffering from congestive heart failure, your doctor can rate your heart condition according to how frequently you experience episodes of heart failure and how prolonged the periods of disability are. The more often you experience the episodes, the higher your percentage of disability.
  • Metabolic equivalents. A doctor may test the extent of your heart condition using metabolic equivalents, or METS. This test evaluates the function of your heart while performing exercise, usually running on a treadmill. Your dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath will all be used to assign your disability rating.
  • Multigated acquisition scan. A multigated acquisition scan, or MUGA, is a specific measure of your heart's ability to pump blood. The scan examines the rate and ability of your heart to process blood and provide oxygen to the body, and can detect left ventricular dysfunction.

Of course, veterans who suffered an incident in service that caused their heart ailment may also qualify for disability. However, direct-service connections must still be proven with medical evidence, such as with one of these tests or with proof in the veteran’s service medical record. At Cuddigan Law, our VA disability attorneys can help you gather the evidence you need to get the benefits you deserve. Call our office today at 402-933-5405 or learn more about filing for benefits in our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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