Chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI, is a common medical condition that affects the body’s ability to send and receive blood. In minor cases, patients experience tingling, heaviness in the legs, or an increase in varicose veins.
However, for more severe cases, CVI can cause severe swelling, pain, and ulceration that makes daily living especially difficult.
If your CVI has made you unable to work or carry out normal daily tasks, then Social Security disability benefits may be right for you.
Continue below to learn the three best tips for applying for benefits with CVI.
Consult your doctor about the specifics classifications of your symptoms.
When the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates applications, they need to be sure that applicants’ conditions are severe enough that they are no longer able to work. Especially with CVI, this means evaluating the small details of your symptoms. For example, one of the side effects of severe CVI is called “extensive brawny edema”, which causes continued heavy swelling in the legs. However, “pitting edema” is another common symptom of CVI that looks extremely similar, yet poses less threat to a person’s functional abilities than extensive brawny edema. Be sure to clarify your specific CVI symptoms with your doctor before applying for benefits to ensure that all provided information is correct.
Compile a list of all previous medical treatments for your disorder, especially those that haven’t worked.
The SSA is statistically more likely to award benefits to applicants who can prove that, despite their best efforts, their symptoms continue to cause them daily disability. The best way to do this is by compiling a list of past treatments.
Daily treatment options like compression stockings, leg elevation, topical creams, or oral medications are important to show the SSA a continued attempt at symptom control.
Surgeries like endogenous laser treatment or sclerotherapy are also very important to include if you have received hem in the past. The more you can demonstrate your CVI’s persistence through treatment, the more likely you are to qualify for benefits.
Include work history and testimonies to potentially qualify for an MVA.
Occasionally, a person with CVI may experience severe symptoms, but may not qualify exactly under Social Security guidelines. In these instances, it is still possible to receive benefits through a medical vocational allowance (MVA).
To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that their condition is severe enough to prevent them from returning to any work that they are qualified to do. For instance, if a person with a GED has spent their life driving freight trucks, it is possible that CVI may make them unable to sit for long periods of time, disqualifying them from potential job options.
Testimonies from past bosses or coworkers can also help demonstrate this to the SSA.
When To Apply For Benefits With Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a disabling condition, which can prevent a sufferer from meaningful and productive work. CVI sufferers in more advance stages of the disorder are able to apply for social security disability benefits as the condition is described in the SSA’s Blue Book under the cardiovascular diseases listing. The Blue Book is the list of conditions that qualify for disability.
Three out of four CVI applicants have their SSD benefit applications denied and this whole process can be frustrating and stressful as well as creating huge pressure on personal finances. Many denied applications are unfortunately due to a failure to submit the correct amount of detailed documentation and fully understand the application process. Learning how the application process works is one way that you can ensure you have a better chance of getting your application accepted.
Eligibility for Disability Benefits for Chronic Venous Insufficiency
To be able to apply for any SSD benefits due to a physical or mental disability, you must have either had the disability or expect to suffer from the disability for at least 12 months and that it will prevent you from performing what the SSA calls substantial gainful activity (SGA). To be able to apply for SSD, you will also have had to have earned sufficient work credits, which varies according to your age. You can earn up to 4 work credits for every year you work.
Whether the SSA judges your CVI disability to match their criteria for benefits or not depends on an assessment of the state of your disability with reference to a listing in their “Blue Book.”
CVI is described as a cardiovascular ailment and as such is listed in section 4.11of the Blue Book. To be able to receive benefits, the SSA must be confident that your medical condition matches one or the other of these two criteria*:
“extensive brawny edema involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and knee or the distal one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip;
superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and either recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.”
Note that even if your CVI symptoms do not match or reach these criteria, you may still be able to obtain benefits under a medical vocational allowance through an assessment of your functional limitations on your ability to work. The adjudicator will take into consideration your medical records, past work history, your age and educational attainment as well as a determination of your exertional and non-exertional limitations.
Completing the Initial Application for Disability Benefits for Venous Insufficiency
A successful application for SSD benefits depends heavily on adequate and thorough preparation. Your medical condition may be assessed by an agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS) which provides assessment work for the SSA.
The DDS will examine your medical records thoroughly and match these with the Blue Book listing criteria for CVI. They may complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form if this hasn’t been completed by your doctor and supplied with the application.
Taking all this into consideration, it is important that you liaise with your doctor to obtain all past and current medical records and reports that summarize the progression of your disability. Although submitting a RFC is not compulsory at this stage, it can be very helpful as long as it is completed by a doctor and not just by yourself. The RFC provides a detailed picture of what you can and cannot do as far as work is concerned, i.e. the limitations imposed on you physically and mentally.
You will need to fill in on the SSD application form a large number of personal details about yourself, such as work history, educational attainment and qualifications, experience, age, names and dates of birth of your spouse and children if you have any. You will then be asked to attend an interview in which you should provide your medical records and any other documentation requested that cannot be supplied online.
There is normally a five month waiting period before any decision is made about your application, but the whole process may take much longer – up to a year and then it could be denied, anyway. If the application is denied for any reason, you can appeal the decision, but be prepared for the appeal process to take many more months. This is why you should use a SSA attorney throughout to help you deal with the application.
Contacting an Attorney
Applying for Social Security benefits can be daunting, especially when even small mistakes could make the difference between you receiving or not receiving benefits. To give yourself the best chance at qualifying, consider speaking with a disability attorney before applying.
They can help you to fill out your application, check for mistakes, update the SSA on your condition, or kickstart the appeal process if your claim is initially denied.
Even better, they are unable to take payment unless you win your case.
Because applying for SSD can be complicated, time consuming and stressful, it is advisable to engage an experienced SSA attorney throughout the whole application process to ensure you have adequate documentation initially and help represent you if you need to appeal a denied application. To give yourself the best chance at qualifying for benefits with CVI, receive a free consultation with a disability attorney today.