Chest pain can result from many different medical conditions, including heart attack, angina, pleurisy, and pericarditis, to name just a few. The origin of your chest pain is what determines the Social Security Disability (SSD) listing under which you’ll need to apply for disability benefits. Some causes of chest pain can be acute and life threatening, like heart attacks, while others can be chronic illnesses that also carry serious health implications, such as breathing disorders and cardiac abnormalities.
Applying for SSD with Chest Pain
To be approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you’ll need to show:
- your chest pain either meets the listing criteria for a potentially disabling condition that appears in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book
- you meet the requirements for a “medical vocational allowance”
Chest Pain in the Blue Book
The Blue Book is the SSA’s manual of impairments used in the evaluation of eligibility for SSD applications. If an application does not meet the criteria of a listed impairment, then Disability Determination Services (DDS) will seek to establish the “residual functional capacity” of the applicant. This means the DDS will try to determine if your chest pain is severe enough to prevent you from working in any position for which you might otherwise be qualified. If your limitations are severe enough to prevent gainful employment, but don’t meet the Blue Book listing of any impairment, then you will be approved to receive disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance.
The underlying medical condition that causes your chest pain is what you must base your disability application on and what the DDS will use to evaluate your application as well. Here are just a few of the SSA’s Blue Book listings that may apply in an SSD claim filed for chest pain:
- Section 3.02 – Chronic pulmonary insufficiency
- Section 4.04 – Ischemic heart disease
- Section 4.06 – Symptomatic congenital heart disease
- Section 11.14 – Peripheral neuropathies
No matter which underlying medical condition applies in your case, your application for disability benefits must include extensive medical documentation supporting your claim. Medical evidence should include:
- Diagnostic test results that document the cause of your chest pain
- Notes from your doctor visits, including physical examinations
- Records of the treatments you’ve undergone, including medications and other therapies
- Detailed statements from your primary care providers, including information about your symptoms, how often they happen, how bad they are and how long they last
- Documentation your chest pain and the underlying cause have not improved even with following the treatments you’ve been prescribed
Medical Vocational Allowance with Chest Pain
If your chest pain doesn’t match the criteria of any listed condition, you must still include extensive medical records in your application in order to be approved for disability benefits under a medical vocational allowance. The records required will be the same as those listed above, though the DDS may request additional information from you in order to make a determination on your eligibility. Just ensure you provide all requested information as accurately and timely as possible during the review process in order to avoid delays and other issues.
To qualify for SSD under a listed condition or under a medical vocational allowance, your application and your supporting documentation, including your medical records, must prove you’re unable to work in your previous job. You must also show you’re unable to hold any other job for which you might be qualified due to your chest pain and the underlying medical condition that causes it.
Getting Help with Your Chest Pain SSD Application
When submitting an application for SSD benefits with any diagnosis, you should work closely with your doctor to ensure your records are detailed and that they accurately represent you medical condition and the limitations it causes in your daily life. Because chest pain can result from many different medical conditions, you will also want to consider seeking assistance with your application from a Social Security advocate or disability attorney.
An attorney can help you complete your application and any other required forms. He or she can also assist you in collecting the appropriate documentation for supporting your claim and can ensure you have the right medical tests and other procedures done to meet the criteria of a listed condition or otherwise prove your chest pain disables you.