LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Stephanie Ann Taylor | May 8, 2013

Social Security Disability Benefits for Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a potentially deadly condition where the heart cannot pump a sufficient amount of blood, causing blood to accumulate in the vessels leading to the heart. As CHF progresses the heart enlarges and the walls of the heart toughen just as any muscle in the body will by working out.

Symptoms and Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

Symptoms of heart failure can include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, and weakness (especially with exertion).

Treatment for congestive heart failure usually requires a program of rest, proper diet, restricting fluid intake, modified daily activities, daily weight monitoring, and medication. This condition should be treated by a cardiologist or a doctor who specializes in diseases of the heart.

Qualifying for Disability for Congestive Heart Failure

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate whether a patient with CHF qualifies for disability under its listing for “chronic heart failure." To qualify for disability benefits for chronic heart failure, you must have been diagnosed with severe continuing heart failure despite being on heart medication. Your medical records should show that you had fluid retention at some point in time, if not present at the time you filed your claim.

Your medical record must show the evidence of either systolic or diastolic heart failure.

You must also have one of the following symptoms.

  • Inability to perform an exercise tolerance test (ETT) at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less due to certain difficulties.
  • If an exercise tolerance test is too risky, persistent symptoms of heart failure that very seriously limit activities of daily living, or

  • At least three episodes of heart failure and fluid retention within the past 12 months, requiring emergency room treatment or hospitalization for at least 12 hours.

Getting Disability Because of Your Functional Limitations

If you don’t qualify under the listing above, the SSA is required to consider the effect of your heart condition on your capacity to work or perform routine daily activities. The SSA will give you a rating of the type of work it thinks you can do, called your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC will rate your ability to do sedentary work, light work, or medium work.

Additional resources provided by the author

Taylor, Warren, and Weidner is committed to giving individuals dealing with injuries, or facing life-threatening or lifestyle-challenging situations, a voice. Call us today at 866-483-4899 or email us at kweidner[email protected] to receive the personal professional attention you deserve.

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