Pulmonary hypertension is a relatively rare type of high blood pressure and it’s different from a general diagnosis of high blood pressure. Pulmonary hypertension stresses the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart and it can cause the heart to expand beyond its normal size. It’s a condition that gets worse over time. The most common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pressure. Unfortunately, at present the only known cure for pulmonary hypertension is a medically difficult and expensive lung transplant.

This serious condition can develop at any age and can make it impossible for you to work. However, there may be financial help available to you if you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

To determine if you are medically eligible for disability benefits Social Security has a set of procedures in place. 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 pulmonary hypertension. According to the Blue Book, you are eligible for benefits if your pulmonary artery pressure is equal to or greater than 40 M-M-H-G.  

However, most often an applicant’s medical conditions will not precisely meet the Blue Book’s technical requirements to qualify for disability payments. But, there is a second way to qualify. You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that, due to the limitations of your condition, 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 pulmonary hypertension. Your age, education level, and work experience will also be considered when determining if you can work.

The unfortunate truth is that winning Social Security disability benefits is a difficult and frustrating process. About two-thirds of initial Social Security disability applications are denied. But don’t give up. An experienced Social Security disability lawyer can improve your chances. It’s easy to get started. Just contact Cuddigan Law for a free, no-strings-attached evaluation of your case.

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