Heart disease is one of the leading reasons why people apply for Social Security disability benefits. It is estimated that more than 8 million Americans over 40 have a specific heart condition called peripheral artery disease—known as P-A-D for short. P-A-D is caused by plaque buildup in the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. Severe Peripheral Artery Disease can cause muscle pain or weakness and it can limit your ability to walk or climb stairs.

Social Security has a set of procedures in place to identify disabilities that are medically eligible for disability benefits. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings.” Many heart conditions are listed in the Blue Book including a listing for severe Peripheral Artery Disease.

In most cases, to qualify for benefits for P-A-D, medical tests are necessary to determine the severity of the disease.

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. The Doppler test uses ultrasound to observe blood flow in the legs as a patient walks on a treadmill. Because exercise tests may be dangerous for those with severe heart conditions, Social Security will not order these tests if it will put your health in jeopardy.

If you don't meet the requirements of the P-A-D listing, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that due to your limitations, you unable to perform any job. Social Security uses a Residual Functional Capacity form to assess how your ability to work is affected by your physical impairments. Your age, education level, and work experience will also be considered when determining if you can work.

Do you have additional questions about winning disability benefits for heart conditions or about the disability application process?  You can get the answers by contacting us at Cuddigan for free evaluation of your case.