Heart disease is one of the leading reasons why people apply for Social Security disability benefits (SSDI). Many heart conditions are listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments under Section 4.00, Cardiovascular System. Severe Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) may limit an individual's ability to walk or climb stairs.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses these criteria in these listings to determine if an applicant is eligible to receive SSDI.  In many cases, test results are necessary to determine the severity of peripheral artery disease.

Common tests include:

  • Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT) The exercise tolerance test is used to measure the heart’s performance during exertion. A patient is instructed to walk on a treadmill or ride a bike while the doctor records the activity of the heart using an electrocardiogram (ECG). The ETT is often used to determine the severity of ischemic heart disease or chronic heart failure. ETT is used to provide objective evidence of the functional limits of PAD.
  • Doppler test The Doppler test uses ultrasound to observe blood flow in the legs as a patient walks on a treadmill. This helps doctors diagnose areas with reduced blood flow and potential blood clots. A Doppler test may be required for SSDI applicants with peripheral vascular or peripheral arterial disease, or with chronic heart failure.


Exercise tests may be dangerous for those with severe heart conditionsSocial Security will not order these tests if it will put your health in jeopardy.

Do you have additional questions about SSDI for heart conditions or about the SSDI application process? Find the answers in our free brochure, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case, or contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405 and ask for a free evaluation with an Omaha disability benefits lawyer.

Timothy J. Cuddigan (Founder - Retired)
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Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience