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Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease and Social Security Disability

Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease – Condition and Symptoms

The human heart, composed almost entirely of muscle tissue, is essentially a pump. As oxygen-poor blood (blood which has already delivered its oxygen) returns to the heart, it is pumped toward the lungs to be re-oxygenated. The blood then returns to the heart (via the pulmonary veins) to be pumped out to the rest of the body to continue the process of delivering oxygen. While the process itself is relatively simple, the anatomy of the heart is somewhat complicated. As one might imagine, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Because the heart’s function is absolutely essential for life to continue, the margin for error is small.

A congenital heart defect is one that occurs during the critical stage of pregnancy when the heart is being formed. Sometimes, due to a multitude of possible factors, part of the heart doesn’t form or grow correctly and causes problems with the heart’s function. Some of these defects are life-threatening and may need to be surgically corrected immediately. Others may require monitoring to see how they progress. Still others are less serious, and may even resolve themselves as the child grows. There are some defects that go undetected until the child reaches adulthood.

Congenital heart disease is often broken into two main categories:

  • Cyanotic, which results in blue discoloration caused by lack of oxygenation, or
  • Non-cyanotic or acyanotic.

Some of the symptoms of a congenital heart disorder may include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Blue or purple skin tone from insufficient oxygen in the bloodstream
  • Enlargement of the heart
  • Organ failure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Enlargement of the fingers and/or toes
  • A pulse that is barely detectable or undetectable
  • Enlargement of the liver.

Keep in mind that this is only a partial list of symptoms.

Treatment for any congenital defects of the heart will obviously depend on the nature and the severity of the defect. Before you file your claim be sure to read our article Tips on Applying for Disability Benefits with Congenital Heart Disease

Filing for Social Security Disability with a Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease Diagnosis

Under guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease may qualify a person to receive Social Security Disability benefits. In their impairment listing manual (commonly known as the “Blue Book”), the SSA establishes diagnostic criteria that need to be met in order to qualify for benefits. These criteria include:

  • Cyanosis (blue appearance due to insufficient oxygenation) at rest, and either hematocrit or arterial oxygen saturation levels of a pre-determined level of severity, or
  • Intermittent right-to-left shunting (movement of blood within the heart) resulting in cyanosis when active and causing oxygenation disruptions of a pre-determined severity, or
  • Obstruction of pulmonary resulting in elevated blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries of a pre-determined level of severity.

In all cases, it is essential that the defect in question is documented by way of “appropriate medically acceptable imaging”; in other words, the presence of the diagnosed defect must be confirmed using either cardiac catheterization or other standard diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound, CT scan, or whatever is considered the standard technique for diagnosing that specific disabling condition.

Your Symptomatic Congenital Heart Disease Disability Case

If you or a member of your family is disabled as the result of a Congenital Heart Disease diagnosis, you are very likely entitled to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Because of the potential for difficulties in proving the presence of a disability, you would be well-advised to consult with a Social Security Disability attorney.

The guidelines established by the SSA are intended to make certain that the funds intended for disability benefits are given only to those who legitimately need them; the unfortunate reality is that far too many people view disability benefits as little more than lifelong unemployment benefits. An unintended consequence is that these benefits are exceedingly difficult to obtain for those who do have a legitimate need for them. While the government’s intent to prevent fraud is indeed commendable, the result is that nearly 60% of applications for disability are denied. To make matters worse, many of these applications are denied based upon simple mistakes in the application paperwork, in spite of the applicant’s genuine disability. While these deserving applicants will eventually get their benefits after a lengthy appeal process, they could easily have avoided the delay simply by having their cases evaluated by an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer.

Working in close collaboration with you and your team of medical professionals, your Social Security Disability attorney can give you the assurance of knowing that your case is being handled by someone who is very familiar with the application process and has completed it successfully many times. They know what the common mistakes are, and they know how to avoid them. Free from the burden of sorting through the application and all of the accompanying documentation, you are then able to focus on your most important task, which is keeping yourself or your loved one as healthy as possible.