Nearly half of all Americans suffer from cardiovascular disease. Ischemic heart disease can cause recurring chest pain, tightness and pressure in the chest, and shortness of breath may be so severe that a person can no longer function in the way they are used to; make it difficult to live a normal life; or are debilitating enough to make it impossible for someone to work.

Financial assistance may be available through the Social Security Administration's (SSA) disability programs. The SSA recognizes ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease and coronary artery disease, in their disability listings. If your symptoms meet the Social Security's  "Blue Book" requirements, you may be eligible for Social Security disability. However, unless you meet certain requirements, you first need a metabolic equivalent of task, or METS test, to determine the nature of your condition.

The process to file for disability can be lengthy and complicated, and the METS test results are critical to your report. It’s helpful to have an experienced disability attorney working with you on your claim. man doing METS test

What Is a METS Test?

The METS evaluation is also called a stress test. During this test, a patient exercises—often on a treadmill or an exercise bike—and medical professionals determine if the coronary arteries that move blood to and from the heart are blocked by plaques or fatty deposits. Doctors look for 70 percent or more blockage. The METS test also assesses how well your heart is functioning and getting oxygen. Generally, it takes additional testing to confirm that you have ischemic heart disease and to determine the severity of the condition.

You Will Likely Need a METS Test to Receive Disability

Typically disability applicants  required to take a METS test as a way of providing medical evidence of their condition. Here is a brief look at the requirements

To qualify for Social Security disability if you have ischemic heart disease, you must meet the requirements defined by the SSA or prove that your heart condition has negatively impacted your ability to work or perform activities that require you to exert yourself. One of the SSA's requirements is that your stress test shows abnormal results, approximately 5 METS or less.

We Can Help

If ischemic heart disease has made it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law by calling 402-933-5405 or email us at [email protected] . We’ll give you a free evaluation of your case, discuss your eligibility for benefits, and offer guidance on how to ensure that your doctor provides the necessary data from your METS test.


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