For those applying for Social Security disability benefits, congestive heart failure (CHF) is, in our experience, one of the more debilitating impairments one can have. According to one expert, up to 5 million people per year suffer from CHF. The questions we have for those applying for Social Security disability is: (1) Do you have this diagnosis, (2) who diagnosed you, (3) how did you get diagnosed (testing), and (4) how long might you have it?
It is important to follow through immediately with medical care for all coronary issues, particularly if you just started having them. Shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and other symptoms can (but not always) be cardiac-related. It is also important to keep in close contact with your doctors regarding medications and possible medication changes.
When our lawyers at Hoglund Law Offices review cardiac claims, we are usually dealing with clients who already have a diagnosis of CHF and have had ongoing symptoms such as chest pain or swelling in the legs (edema). We then look to see if it was diagnosed by a cardiologis. With medical records from a cardiologist, we look to see what medical tests were done to verify the diagnosis. Some measures of heart failure, such as ejection fraction, are mentioned in the Social Security “listings”, or definitions of disability. There are ejection fractions which, if they persist long enough, can be disabling by definition. Stress tests and other testing specific to heart function also help us argue that full-time work at any exertional level is not possible – the medical standard of the Social Security Disability Insurance Program.
Our lawyers also look for other measures of ability to function that support disability in CHF cases.
What is important in CHF claims is how long your condition may last. If your heart function improves within 1 year, your treating physician may release you to work. This would be good news for you. Keep in mind, though, that CHF is serious enough that unless it measurably resolves from the point of your first diagnosis, you may wish to apply for Social Security Disability benefits while you keep treating with specialists and wait for improvement. You may apply if your health keeps you from being able to work or keeps you from earning gross monthly amounts below the level Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity.” Ask our lawyers about how being over age 50 improves your chances of approval.
If you have questions about applying for or appealing a Social Security Disability benefits claim, please call Hoglund Law Offices today.