Tips on Applying for Disability Benefits with Heart Failure

Heart failure, also called “congestive heart failure”, is when either or both sides of a person’s heart cannot pump enough blood into their body. Heart failure can lead to heart attacks and is linked to smoking, obesity, and heart disease.

Medical Evidence

If you have heart failure, there are a number of different symptoms and tests that will qualify you for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will review three months of your medical records to make sure your heart disease meets certain requirements. For instance, you must show that you've experienced one or more of the following symptoms from your heart failure:

  • Chest pain brought about by physical activity
  • Chest pain even while resting
  • Discomfort in other parts of the body besides the chest area
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clogged arteries in your heart

Along with these symptoms, you will also need to provide evidence of one of the following:

  • An abnormal stress test, which monitors your heart rate while you exercise
  • Three separate episodes of minor heart attacks that required medical treatment
  • Irregular results from a medical image scan of your heart

One important test, an ECG, should also be included with your medical evidence. It records the activity of your heart to show if it is working correctly and getting enough oxygen.

Non-medical Evidence

To receive disability benefits with heart failure, you must also prove that your ability to work is impaired. The SSA will review your medical evidence to determine your ability to work by assessing your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). You will be rated on your ability to do certain workplace activities such as sitting, standing, and picking up and carrying objects. Then, you will be rated for light, medium, or sedentary work.

If it is found that you cannot perform your current job, past job, or any other job because of your heart failure, you will be found disabled and approved for benefits.

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