An aortic aneurysm in a life-threatening condition that develops due to a weakening in the wall of the largest artery in the human body. Individuals who have an aortic aneurysm must take great care to ensure that their blood pressure stays within an acceptable level.
As such, those who experience an aortic aneurysm are unable to perform many life functions, including work. The Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI) was developed to assist people, such as yourself, who have become disabled due to having an aortic aneurysm.
Unfortunately, not everyone who experiences an aortic aneurysm will be awarded financial assistance for their disability. While many individuals rightfully deserve disability assistance, some are denied due to their inability to provide sufficient medical documentation.
Each Social Security disability applicant is responsible for providing the evidence regarding their condition and its severity. Your ability to provide timely, accurate, and complete medical records about your aortic aneurysm will enhance your chances for approval.
The Importance of the “Blue Book”
The SSA uses a medical guide, known as the Blue Book, to determine whether or not a condition such as an aortic aneurysm is severe enough to warrant disability payments.
The Blue Book lists specific criteria and symptoms that you must have to be approved, as well as medical evidence that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is seeking, such as clinical and laboratory tests.
An aortic aneurysm is a cardiac disorder that is listed in section 4.10, aneurysm of aorta or major branches, of the Blue Book. An aneurysm can cause damage to other organs, such as the heart, kidney, or brain. If this occurs, your condition may also be evaluated under the relevant Blue Book sections.
To help you with the information gathering process, here is the most relevant medical evidence that you will need to provide to give you the best chance of being approved for SSDI.
Evidence Needed Related to Your Aortic Aneurysm
The first type of medical evidence that the Blue Book directly requests is a complete medical history of your aortic aneurysm. You should be able to provide the following evidence:
- A full history of your injury, including your presenting symptoms, physician notes, and emergency room records, if applicable.
- Your medical records must include imaging results that will speak to the severity of your aortic aneurysm, including whether or not your aneurysm is dissecting
- You should also have a full updated history and physical from your current cardiologist or vascular doctor
According to the Blue Book, you will qualify for benefits if you have a dissecting aneurysm that meets any one of the following criteria:
- Persistent chest pain due to progression of the dissection
- An increase in the size of your aneurysm, as displayed by imaging
- A compression of one or more branches of the aorta, blocking the supply to the heart, kidney, brain, or other organ.
While any doctor can provide this information, the SSA gives more weight to the opinion of medical specialists. Therefore, it is essential that you work with your cardiologist and/or vascular doctor to gather this medical information.
Evidence Needed Related to Your Aortic Aneurysm Treatments
The treatment for an aortic aneurysm depends on the severity and the health of the individual, as well as if it is beginning to dissect. The SSA will need to know exactly what treatments you have received, your response to those therapies, and most importantly if your condition has worsened despite those treatments.
Be certain that your doctor has documented the following:
- Any and all medications that you are receiving as a result of your aneurysm, as well as your response to the medications
- Medications for aortic aneurysms often include medications to lower your blood pressure and relax your blood vessels, including beta blockers and calcium channel blockers
- All records related to any surgery that you may have needed, with full operative notes and surgical notes from your vascular or cardiac surgeon
- Surgery may include an open surgery or an endoscopic repair
- All imaging records, such as CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds throughout the course of your treatment.
Not everyone who has an aortic aneurysm will meet the criteria listed in the Blue Book. If this is the case, you will need to prove that you are still too ill to work due to complications that will persist for at least one year.
Medical evidence such as side effects of your medications, limitations that your doctor has placed on your activities, and other related medical information is essential to provide to the SSA.
Evidence Needed Related Your Quality of Life and Ability to Care for Yourself
Some people who have an aortic aneurysm will not qualify for SSDI benefits through the Blue Book listing. However, you still may be too ill to work. If this is the case, your cardiologist or vascular doctor should provide physician notes documenting his or her opinion regarding your limitations and inability to function without unscheduled breaks or days off.
The more specific that your doctor is about your limitations, the better your chances of being approved for disability benefits. If you are suffering from symptoms related to your aortic aneurysm, and if you are unable to work due to limitations from your disease, you may still qualify for disability through a residual functioning capacity assessment.
Steps You Can Take to Win Your Disability Claim
If you haven’t applied yet, or if you have applied and were denied, remember that medical evidence listed in the Blue Book is arguably the most important factor in your Social Security disability claim for an aortic aneurysm.
The entire Blue Book is available online, and the section on cardiovascular disorders is quite detailed, so you may want to review section 4.10 with your cardiologist to determine what medical records you have on hand, and what may need to be supplemented to be approved.
You may need to contact the medical records office at your hospital to obtain some of this information.
While you don’t need to provide medical documentation to the SSA yourself, it is helpful to be as organized as possible. When you visit your doctor, it is a good idea to present a written list of symptoms and side-effects that you are experiencing.
There are several ways that your cardiologist, vascular doctor, or primary care physician can help including:
- Ensuring that your full medical history related to your aortic aneurysm is up to date
- Listing your past treatments and responses, as well as the plan for the future
- Documenting all of your medications and experienced side effects
A Social Security disability attorney or advocate can assist you in ensuring that you claim for disability is thorough, thus increasing your chances for approval. Consider a Free Evaluation with a Social Security advocate or attorney in your area today.
Social Security attorneys are only paid if you win your aortic aneurysm claim.